Diver lucky to be alive after Australia shark attack

SYDNEY (AFP) - An experienced diver is lucky to be alive after he was mauled by a large shark in a remote area near the Great Barrier Reef, Australian paramedics said Sunday (Jan 22).

The 55-year-old was diving with friends about 60 nautical miles east of Murray Island in the Torres Strait on Saturday when he was attacked by the 4m bull shark.

"He has severe bites to his left arm and some minor lacerations across his stomach," Queensland Ambulance Service paramedic David Cameron told AFP.

The man was taken by boat to Murray Island, three hours from the dive site, where he was treated by a nurse.

He was in a stable condition on Sunday and due to undergo microsurgery, Cameron said.

"There are several different types of sharks out near Murray Island, but the bull shark can be quite aggressive, so he is very, very lucky," he added.

Although sharks are known to inhabit the area - which is popular for crayfishing and free diving - attacks were uncommon, the paramedic said.

Experts say shark attacks are increasing as water sports become more popular and bait fish move closer to shore, but fatalities remain rare.