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Surfer Sean Pollard Loses Both Arms In Shark Attack At Australia's Wylie Bay

02/10/2014 10:46 BST | Updated 02/10/2014 11:59 BST

A surfer has lost parts of both his arms in a shark attack in south western Australia.

The 23-year-old was surfing at Wylie Bay in the town of Esperance when the shark, believed to be a great white, struck on Thursday morning.

A fellow surfer managed to get the victim to shore and to a nearby parking lot where there was an off-duty ambulance officer, Esperance Shire President Malcolm Heasman said.

The ambulance officer gave the man first aid while they waited for help to arrive.

The victim lost one arm below the elbow and the other at the wrist, likely from trying to fend off the shark, Heasman said.

The man, who was a visitor to the area, also had lacerations to his legs. He was in stable condition and was being flown to a hospital in Perth for treatment.

Police had retrieved the man's surfboard, which was covered in bite marks, Heasman said.

Beaches in the area were closed and fisheries officials launched a hunt for the shark, state fisheries department spokeswoman Donna Cole said.

There had been a few shark sightings in the Wylie Bay area in recent weeks, though that's not considered unusual for the area during the Australian spring, Heasman said.

It was the second attack by a suspected great white shark in the waters off Esperance in a year. Last October, a man was seriously injured by what officials believe was a great white while diving for abalone off Poison Creek, an area near the town.

Although sharks are common in Australian waters, the country has averaged fewer than two fatal attacks per year in recent decades.

Yahoo Australia identifies the man as Sean Pollard.

The news channel adds a 3-4.5m shark has been caught and will be destroyed later on Thursday afternoon.