By Nicolas Perpitch.
A 29-year-old man is in a critical condition in a Perth hospital after his leg was severed in a shark attack while surfing off a beach in Mandurah.
Witnesses said Ben Gerring, a fly-in fly-out heavy machinery operator, has lived and surfed in the area his whole life.
About 20 surfers had been sitting in the water at the surf spot known as Gearies, off the suburb of Falcon, when the shark struck just before 4.00pm on Tuesday.
Mr Gerring’s friend, Mandurah Boardriders Club president Brian Williams said he had just paddled further out into the ocean to catch a bigger wave when “all hell broke loose”.
“He was right out the back looking to get a big wave, one of the set waves that had been coming through during the day,” Mr Williams said.
“He’d sort of paddled out the back, sort of past the pack slightly. And next thing all hell broke loose and they were trying to bring him in.
“His board was broken in half, they found the tail part of his board.”
Two surfers with longboards paddled out to bring him in.
‘Desperate and heart wrenching scenes’
Mandurah Mail reporter Nathan Hondros said it was a desperate scene when he arrived at the beach not long after the attack.
“Ambulance crews were trying to resuscitate him by the looks of it,” Mr Hondros said.
“[The] RAC rescue chopper came in. So it was just quite desperate and heart wrenching scenes.”
Mr Williams helped stretcher Mr Gerring up to the ambulance.
“We had to stop on a number of occasions to maintain CPR, but I was holding the stretcher as we were getting him into the ambulance,” he said.