A Perth teenager suffered deep gashes to her foot when she was bitten by a shark while swimming at a beach in North Cottesloe on Monday.
Isabella Brett-Jensen, 15, was swimming in waist-deep water with a friend at about 11.30am when she felt something latch onto her foot under the surface.
“At first I thought it was just a sharp rock that had been dumped on to my feet. It wasn’t until I got up on to the sand that I saw it was a bite mark with a round sphere bite,” she told Perth Now.
Ms Brett-Jensen later told Nine News only noticed the lacerations once she collapsed back on the sand.
“Bits of my foot or like flesh actually fell off as I was walking up. There was blood everywhere,” she said.
The friends were swimming at an unpatrolled beach so had to phone relatives for help.
She was taken to Claremont Medical Centre for treatment, receiving 10 stitches.
It is believed the wound was caused by a Wobbegong shark, a species which can grow up to 3m in length and is commonly found in shallow coastal waters.
Wobbegongs are generally not considered dangerous to humans, according to marine experts, but have been known to attack swimmers who inadvertently come too close to them.
A recent spate of shark attacks across Australia have reignited fierce debate about how best to tackle the risks posed by ocean-dwelling man-eaters.
On one side, environmentalists argue the dangers are overhyped and culling the animals is cruel and unnecessary, while their opponents want more done to protect swimmers and surfers.
New analysis compiled by consumer comparison website finder.com.au found Australia has recorded the highest number of shark attack fatalities in the world over the past 30 years.
“We looked at shark attacks and fatalities over a three-decade period and found there have been 47 deaths in Australia from 501 attacks,” finder.com.au insurance expert Bessie Hassan said.
In that time, New South Wales recorded the most attacks with 146, followed by Queensland with 86 and Western Australia with 81.
The deadliest beach in the country over the past 30 years has been Lennox Head in northern NSW, where five people have died as a result of shark attacks.