Shark mauls teenage surfer in Australia

This hand out photo released by New South Wales Department of Primary Industries on Sept 26, 2016, shows life savers chasing a shark off the Ballina's popular Lighthouse Beach following a shark attack that injured a 17-year-old surfer.
This hand out photo released by New South Wales Department of Primary Industries on Sept 26, 2016, shows life savers chasing a shark off the Ballina's popular Lighthouse Beach following a shark attack that injured a 17-year-old surfer. PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (AFP) - A shark attacked a 17-year-old surfing off Australia's east coast on Monday (Sept 26) leaving him in hospital with a hip injury, police said.

Emergency services responded to reports that a youth had been bitten by a shark during the morning at Ballina's popular Lighthouse Beach - the scene of several attacks in recent years.

"The youth made his way out of the water and was assisted by a nurse who was at the beach," New South Wales police said.

"He sustained a single bite wound to his hip and was taken to Lismore Base Hospital in a stable condition."

Police declared all beaches in the Ballina area closed for 24 hours, with school holidays in full swing.

Fourteen people were involved in unprovoked shark attacks off the New South Wales coast in 2015, up from three in 2014, according to records at Sydney's Taronga Zoo.

Most occurred along a 60km stretch from Evans Head to Byron Bay - with Ballina, a popular surf break 740km north of Sydney, between the two.

Ninety-eight shark attacks were reported globally last year - the highest number ever recorded, according research at the University of Florida. Six of the attacks were fatal.

Theories on the increase include rising water temperatures caused by climate change making sharks change their habits, the El Nino weather pattern, which was particularly powerful last year, and the increasing popularity of water sports.