Woman hailed as ‘absolute hero’ after surviving brutal shark attack in Sydney Harbour

Woman hailed as ‘absolute hero’ after surviving brutal shark attack in Sydney Harbour

A woman in Australia is being hailed as “an absolute hero” after she survived a shark attack despite suffering severe injuries.

Lauren O’Neill, 29, was swimming near a private wharf in Elizabeth Bay of Sydney Harbour on Monday evening when a shark mauled her leg.

She was rescued by local residents who rushed to the scene after hearing “a soft yell” as she clung to a ladder in the wharf after the brutal attack.

The woman, who is a keen kayaker, was administered first aid by the residents and rushed to the St Vincent’s Hospital where she was in a “stable condition”.

It is believed by the authorities that a bull shark could be responsible for the attack based on the photographs of the bite marks.

Michael Porter, the woman’s neighbour, told Sydney Morning Herald he had just returned from work when he heard “a soft yell” for help before 8pm and saw her.

“She was trying to climb in and behind her was her leg, which was completely open and full of dark red blood behind her,” Mr Porter said.

Paramedics attend to woman after shark attack (Screengrab/ NCA NewsWire)
Paramedics attend to woman after shark attack (Screengrab/ NCA NewsWire)

He said he called the police and more neighbours rushed to her side while a vet applied a tourniquet to stem the bleeding.

Mr Porter called her neighbour an “absolute hero” for saving her own life, according to Today news.

"People were holding her hand and helping her. (Lauren) was extremely brave the whole time and she was very lucid.

"She was talking and thanking us for getting the ambulance."

A local resident, Georgia, whose wife is a vet, said she potentially saved Ms O’Neill’s life as she bandaged her profusely bleeding wound.

"We heard a shout and she swam up to a boat, but on the way back she got bitten by a bull shark," she told 9News.

"We got some bandages, we kept her warm, and my wife basically bandaged her up to stop the bleeding."

A footage shared by NCA NewsWire showed chaotic scenes after the woman was attacked as locals tried to help. Police officers and paramedics worked on the scene before taking her to the hospital.

Locals said they regularly see swimmers in the area and kids and dogs being around the shore where people have sighted stingrays, jellyfish, and dolphins.

Sydney City Councillor Linda Scott said the woman suffered “severe injuries” and urged people to “stay out of the harbour until further notice”.

Police said the Marine area command is patrolling the area as a precaution.

Bull sharks are known to populate Sydney Harbour when the waters are warmer after November. Females come to give birth and their pups spend the first year in rivers and the males remain around them. They leave around April and move towards Queensland.

Marine experts urge people to avoid the waters during evenings and early mornings when the predators’ sensors are active.