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Man attacked by shark at popular Australian surf spot, rushed to hospital

A man in his 40s was rushed to hospital Friday after he was attacked by a shark off a beach north of Sydney, paramedics told AFP.

New South Wales Ambulance said the man had been bitten on his “upper and lower leg” while in the water at Lighthouse Beach, a popular surf spot made notorious by several shark attacks in recent years.

There was no immediate word on the man’s condition.

Both great white sharks and aggressive bull sharks are known to prowl the waters around Lighthouse Beach, about four hours’ drive from Sydney.

A 16-year-old girl was killed by a shark in Western Australia earlier this year, after jumping into the water near a river mouth to swim with a pod of dolphins.

A large great white shark mauled a British diving instructor to death as he swam near Sydney in February 2022. The International Shark Attack Files, a University of Florida group that aims to compile all known shark attacks, classified the attack on Simon Nellist as “provoked” because people were fishing nearby, which attracts sharks.

Across the globe, unprovoked shark bites have decreased over the past decade. In 2022, there were 57 unprovoked bites worldwide, which is significantly lower than the 10-year average of 74 unprovoked bites annually, according to theUniversity of Florida’s data.

“Encounters with sharks are extremely rare. An individual is far more likely to be struck by lightning than to be bitten by a shark,” Dr. Robert Latour, professor of marine science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, told CBS News.

The U.S. tops the charts when it comes to unprovoked shark bites, accounting for about 72% of those recorded worldwide in 2022, according to the University of Florida’srecords. Australia recorded the second-highest number of unprovoked shark bites in 2022, representing nearly 16% of the 2022 worldwide total.

Jennifer Earl contributed to this report.

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