SYDNEY (AFP) - Several beaches on Australia's east coast remained closed on Sunday after a bodyboarder was seriously hurt in a shark attack, just weeks after two others were badly mauled at a nearby region.
A 38-year-old man was bodyboarding with a friend off Lighthouse Beach, about 400km north of Sydney, late on Saturday afternoon when he was attacked and suffered "life-threatening injuries", New South Wales state police said.
He was treated at Port Macquarie Hospital for stomach and back wounds and was in a stable condition on Sunday morning, a hospital spokesman told AFP.
Beaches in the Port Macquarie and Hastings area remained closed on Sunday.
The latest attack came less than a month after a 52-year-old surfer sustained serious arm and leg injuries after being bitten at Evans Head, about 350km north of Lighthouse Beach.
In the same area, a 32-year-old surfer's legs were mauled by a shark in early July and in February, a 41-year-old Japanese surfer died after his legs were torn off in an attack.
The spate of attacks prompted authorities to boost the monitoring and tagging of sharks off the coast, with world-renowned experts temporarily based in the region to lead the project ahead of the busy summer season.
But the latest encounter was "quite unusual as there haven't been reports of shark activity in that (Port Macquarie) region for ages", a Surf Life Saving spokesman told AFP.
The state government has ruled out culling sharks, but is also undertaking a review of new control technologies with a report to be completed by next month.
Experts say attacks by sharks are increasing as water sports become more popular.