Shark-attack victim: "I'm one of the lucky ones"

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A surfer sustained teeth wounds to his thigh on Monday in the third shark attack off New South Wales state north of Sydney in a month, police said.

Jade Fitzpatrick was attacked at Byron Bay, 22 miles north of Ballina, where a 25-year-old man sustained minor leg injuries while surfing with friends on Oct. 12, a police statement said.

On Sept. 26, a 17-year-old surfer required stiches to close a leg wound after he was bitten by a shark off Ballina, 600 kilometers (350 miles) north of Sydney.

A 41-year-old Japanese surfer was killed by a shark off Ballina last year.

After the latest attack, a friend drove Fitzpatrick to the Byron Bay hospital. The puncture wounds to his upper-left thigh were not life-threatening, police said.

"I'm one of the lucky ones. There's people here, around here that have lost limbs and lost lives," he said.
A surfer who administered first aid at the scene said the victim had been lying on his board when the shark attacked. The fiberglass board took the brunt of the bite.

"Halfway in, I started to panic a bit because I touched my leg and I felt it was all slick from the blood,'' Fitzpatrick continued.

Police said beaches around Byron Bay would remain closed for 24 hours after the attack.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters gathered at Ballina on Sunday to demonstrate against government plans to place anti-shark nets along beaches around Ballina.

The nets, which are suspended from floats and run parallel to the coast, are not complete barriers to sharks and kill a wide variety of marine life. Environmentalists oppose them -- as does the sharks' most recent victim.

''I don't want animals dying just to make us feel safe," Fitzpatrick added.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.