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Several beaches across the Central Coast will remained closed until at least 4pm on Tuesday following a British doctor’s encounter with a shark while surfing at Avoca Beach late yesterday.

Avoca Beach, North Avoca, and MacMasters are all closed for at least 24 hours after 25-year-old Charlie Fry was bitten on the shoulder at the popular surfing spot.

The doctor was surfing with a group of friends when he encountered the shark. He was understandably shaken but escaped serious injury in the incident, and pleased that he has a story to tell.

As he later recounted to media after assuring his UK based family that he was okay he owes Australian surfing champion Mick Fanning a beer after remembering the best way to fight off a shark was to attempt to punch it.

Central Coast Lifeguards attended the incident which occurred near the Shark Tower just off the entrance to Avoca lagoon and dressed his injuries. An ambulance was called but the group drove themselves off to hospital.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was tasked from Sydney for aerial surveillance and spotted what was believed to be a shark in the waters off Avoca yesterday evening.

Investigators from the NSW Department of Primary Industries also attended and determined that the injuries were from a white shark approximate 2.6 metres in length.

An aerial search of the waters off Avoca Beach has been conducted on Tuesday morning by the DPI helicopter in an effort to locate the shark, while the Surf Life Saving Central Coast Branch are deploying drones to provide operational support.

Additional Surf Life Saving assets are on stand-by if requested.

A final decision on when to re-open beaches will be made by Council and Police.

Measures to Minimise the Risk of Shark Encounters

  • Tell a lifesaver or lifeguard if a shark is spotted near swimmers or surfers.

  • Don't swim too far from shore.

  • Swim in groups.

  • Avoid swimming and surfing when it's dark or during twilight hours.

  • Avoid murky water, waters with known effluents or sewage.

  • Avoid areas used by recreational or commercial fishers.

  • Avoid areas with signs of baitfish or fish feeding activity; diving seabirds are a good indicator of fish activity.

  • Do not rely on sightings of dolphins to indicate the absence of sharks; both often feed together on the same food.

  • Be aware that sharks may be present between sandbars or near steep drop offs.

  • Avoid swimming in canals, and swimming or surfing in river/harbour mouths.

  • Avoid having pets in the water with you.

  • Do not swim/surf near or interfere with shark nets

Source - NSW Sharksmart Website


Tuesday 14 November 2017