A shark has mauled an Australian grandmother during her daily morning swim in the seventh serious attack in the country this year.
Pamela Cook was swimming with friends on her regular route around the jetty in Beachport, South Australia, on Monday when the animal gripped her foot and began mauling her thigh.
Mrs Cook, 64, managed to kick the animal away and call out to other swimmers who held her in the water and put pressure on her wounds.
Witnesses described the frantic scenes as the women waded towards them, covered in blood and screaming for help to carry Mrs Cook to shore.
It was “lucky” that nearby construction workers on the jetty had first aid equipment, they said.
Greg Rae, a maintenance worker, applied a tourniquet to her leg.
“There was a couple of ladies running in and they were covered in a bit of blood,” Mr Rae told national broadcaster ABC.
“We immediately just jumped in, went and grabbed our trauma gear and first aid equipment,” he added.
“The big concern for me at the time was shock, so just keeping her talking and keeping her assured.”
Shark fatality ‘hotspot’
For more than a decade, Mrs Cook has been meeting friends from the Beachport Sea Urchins and Slugs group for an ocean swim before starting her shift at a pub.
“I swim because I love it, and it is a great way to start the day,” she told a local newspaper last year for an article about the benefits of ocean swimming.
“It is just great exercise and I have had some heart issues as well, and it is great for your heart.”
Geoff Wells, the owner of the Beachport Hotel where Mrs Cook works, told The Adelaide Advertiser newspaper that the local community was in “shock”.
“We’re only a small community... I’ve been here for eight years and nothing like this has happened before,” Mr Wells said.
While Mrs Cook was stabilised in hospital on Monday, authorities used drones to search for the shark. They believe it was a juvenile Great White - the species responsible for the most fatalities worldwide.
South Australia’s rugged and remote coast has previously been labelled a shark fatality “hotspot”, with 15 swimmers and surfers killed by sharks in the past 30 years.
Before the attack on Mrs Cook, the Australian Shark Incident Database had recorded nine other shark incidents in Australian waters so far this year, six of which resulted in injury or death.
Last month, surfer Toby Begg lost his leg after a “sustained attack” by a Great White at Port Macquarie, in New South Wales.
In May, teacher Simon Baccanello was believed to have been killed while surfing in a remote area of South Australia, about 600 miles from the beach where Mrs Cook was hurt. A witness saw him being dragged underwater.
Stella Berry, 16, was killed in February by a bull shark in Perth’s Swan River.