Surfer attacked by shark on Australia's east coast

SYDNEY - A surfer was left in a serious condition after being attacked by a shark on Australia's east coast on Friday, suffering bite wounds to his legs and hands.

Two fellow surfers came to the man's aid, reportedly using towels and tourniquets to stem the bleeding until emergency services arrived at the beach at Evans Head in New South Wales state.

"Emergency services attended the beach and started working on the man, who had sustained puncture wounds to his legs and hands," New South Wales police said in a statement, adding that he was in a serious but stable condition.

"A police officer drove the ambulance to allow paramedics to work on the man (en) route to the hospital," police added.

The attack happened just south of Ballina, a popular tourist spot some 740 kilometres (460 miles) north of Sydney, where a bodyboarder was severely injured by a shark this month.

A Japanese surfer also died after his legs were torn off in February.

On Sunday, four beaches in the area were closed after numerous shark sightings, with police saying the presence of baitfish was attracting large sharks to the area.

The latest attack comes just days after a scallop diver was killed by a shark off Maria Island in the southern state of Tasmania as his daughter watched.

Experts say attacks are increasing as water sports become more popular, but fatalities remain rare.

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