DESPITE blood gushing from a savage bite wound to his stomach, Dudley surfer Jon Hines continued the fight of his life as a shark that had already attacked him at a remote West Australian beach came in for another blow.
It appeared last night that surgeons had saved Mr Hines’s arm after more than seven hours in the Royal Perth Hospital’s operating theatre, although it was still unclear how much movement he would regain.
‘‘At least he is OK, they think he will get most of the movement back and his stomach will heal over time – he has definitely dodged a bullet,’’ close family friend, Newcastle businessman Jeff McCloy, said last night.
Nathan Hines was with his brother at Red Bluff, an iconic surfing spot about 960kilometres north of Perth, when the shark struck on Tuesday afternoon.
It was unclear last night what species of shark was responsible for the attack.
Details emerged yesterday of the heroics of local surfing legend Geoff Goulden, better known as ‘‘Camel’’, who came to Mr Hines’s aid despite the massive amount of blood in the water and the shark still nearby.
Former surfing professional turned surf school instructor Josh Palmateer was camping at Red Bluff and was about 500metres away from the beach when he heard a commotion.
‘‘I think it was Camel who went in and dragged him in. He’s told him to grab his legrope and he’ll drag him in,’’ Mr Palmateer said.
‘‘So he’s grabbed hold with his good arm and Camel dragged him and slid him across the reef.
‘‘There was a lot of people involved in the rescue ... they saved his life, stopped him from bleeding to death.”
Margaret River Surfrider Foundation president Gene Hardy added: “If you need someone to paddle you away from a shark, Camel is it.’’
Mr Palmateer said other surfers had told him Mr Hines gave the shark as good as he got.
“... whether he’d just finished a wave or got a wipeout, the shark came in and bit him while he was in the whitewash, I gather, and got him on the torso and it came back and that’s when he’s got his arm when he was trying to fight it, sticking his hand in its gill and punching it on the nose,’’ he said.
‘‘He was fighting for his life, he was giving that shark a bit of go. He’s a tough bugger.’’
The 34-year-old repeatedly punched and scratched at the shark’s eyes. He suffered severe wounds to his right arm, but it possibly gave him the edge in his battle for survival.
But once ashore, Mr Hines had another battle on his hands – getting to medical aid before he bled to death.
Nathan Hines and another mate, who had been with the contingent of Novocastrians holidaying at the remote beach, were able to get him into a private car and start the 160-kilometre trip to the nearest hospital in Carnarvon.
‘‘One of them had hold of the tourniquet on his arm and the other was holding his stomach in,’’ Mr McCloy said.
‘‘They have done a great job.’’
Mr Hines, a civil engineer with Newcastle firm Graph Building, was joined at his bedside by wife Bridget, parents Paul and Sue and brother Nathan.
They met an ambulance halfway along the dirt and badly corrugated road, before Mr Hines was taken to Carnarvon and later flown to Perth.
Mr Hines’s father, Paul Hines, is a solicitor who has worked with Mr McCloy’s development companies for 25 years.
‘‘He is a fantastic young man, a credit to himself and his family,’’ Mr McCloy said.
‘‘And he’s tough, he will get through this.’’
Mr Hines grew up in Dudley and has been a well-known member of the Dudley Boardriders since he was young.
He studied engineering at University of Newcastle and worked in Newcastle and interstate, including Western Australia, before returning several years ago and marrying Bridget.
He had travelled to Western Australia for a surfing holiday with a few mates and was due to return to the east coast this week to attend a mate’s wedding.
In a coincidence, the Hines couple live less than 100metres from Glen ‘‘Lenny’’ Folkard, the surfer who survived being attacked by a bull shark at Redhead Beach eight months ago.
‘‘If he needs help getting over this, I will help him out for sure,’’ Mr Folkard said.
‘‘It really knocked me around when I heard it last night. I hope he recovers.’’
Locals said shark sightings were not uncommon along that stretch of coastline, including a four-metre great white shark seen at a nearby reef a week ago.
Wakeboarder Lisa Mondy, 25, suffered serious injuries to her left upper arm and neck when she was attacked by a great white shark off Jimmys Beach at Port Stephens on March 17 last year.