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"They had a full surgical team waiting for him in theatre”

UPDATE 11.10am: THE VALUE of the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter service coordinating with Ambulance NSW was demonstrated when Sam Morgan was attacked by a bull shark late yesterday.

Well oiled machine

Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter paramedic Rolan Murcott said he was on his was to work at the Lismore helibase when the 'well oiled machine' kicked into action to try to save Mr Morgan's life.  

"I was actually off duty but I was coming into Lismore for my shift and Dr Emma Newell was off duty as well," he said.  

"We heard about this shark attack and we knew the helicopter was up in Queensland."

Doctors and paramedics at work on shark attack victim Sam Morgan at Ballina airport where they set up a resuscitation work platform and administered three units of blood.
Doctors and paramedics at work on shark attack victim Sam Morgan at Ballina airport where they set up a resuscitation work platform and administered three units of blood. Contributed

  As the helicopter was carrying blood supplies, Mr Murcott said he and Dr Newell hatched a plan.  

"Between the two of us we got together and got two units of o-negative (universal blood) blood from Lismore Base Hospital pathology and we responded in our road ambulance to Ballina," he said.  

The whole time Mr Murcott said they were communicating with the Ambulance NSW control centre in Sydney.  

Waiting for helicopter

"We coordinated with the first ambulance on scene to meet them at Ballina airport because we knew that the helicopter was trying to scramble to come back to us," he said.  

"I had also spoken to the helicopter paramedic and the pilots in Queensland and they told me they could quickly offload the patient at Gold Coast Hospital and do a quick turnaround and come back.  

Shark attacks in NSW: Lucky escapes and tragedies

"It was a lot of coordination and phone calls to get this plan together.   

"We pulled up at the same time as the Ballina paramedics at Ballina airport then we started to resuscitate him with the blood and the TXA (anti-coagulant).  

"Then we put him in an induced coma, and on life support.  

"Then the helicopter arrived and transported him to the Gold Coast University Hospital where he went straight to theatre."  

The helicopter crew and resources of the Gold Coast University hospital all worked in unison, Mr Murcott said.   "They had a full surgical team waiting for him in theatre," he said.  

"This young fellow got world class treatment.  

"He was in theatre in less than two hours after the bite  

"He had blood products within half an hour of the bite."  

Mr Murcott said Mr Morgan's injuries to his left leg were severe and he was in a critical condition.  

"He had massive tissue damage," he said.  

"He had a massive bite that took up the whole of his thigh...very very deep, right down to the bone.  

"It took two tourniquets to stop the bleeding.  

Surf Life Saving NSW posted this photo on their Facebook page following the shark attack.
Surf Life Saving NSW posted this photo on their Facebook page following the shark attack. Surf Life Saving NSW

"He was suffering from massive blood loss.  

"He was conscious but he was in profound shock."  

Mr Morgan remains in an induced coma in critical condition at Gold Coast University Hospital.  

UPDATE, 6.53AM WEDNESDAY: SURFER Sam Morgan, 20, remains in an induced coma following a shark attack at Ballina yesterday.

He was then flown to Gold Coast University Hospital where he underwent surgery.

Police said he now remains in a stable condition, but in an induced coma.

Police said they will be liaising with NSW Surf Lifesaving, Ballina Shire Council and Department of Primary Industries regarding the incident.

Initial investigations by the Department of Primary Industries suggest the shark in question was possibly a Bull shark, approximately 2.8 to 3.1 metres in length.

 

The Westpac Helicopter treating surfer Sam Morgan after he was attacked by a shark at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina, last night.
The Westpac Helicopter treating surfer Sam Morgan after he was attacked by a shark at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina, last night. Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter

UPDATE, 9.40PM: Ballina Mayor David Wright said he was at a function talking about shark tagging with the Ballina Chamber of Commerce when he heard the news that there had been another shark attack.

"The attack was by a bull shark, which could be the one that was seen earlier today, I'm not sure," he said.

"We had the DPI up here and the experts said, because it bit the board, that it was definitely a bull shark.

"Today they (DPI) were going out and saw the bull shark in the river mouth so they tried to get the boats after it but it wouldn't take the bait."

Surf Life Saving NSW posted this photo of Sam Morgan's surfboard following the shark attack at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach yesterday.
Surf Life Saving NSW posted this photo of Sam Morgan's surfboard following the shark attack at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach yesterday. Surf Life Saving NSW

Cr Wright said there had been shark sightings and beach evacuations at Sharpes Beach and Lighthouse Beach at the weekend.

"Virtually it's the same place that Mathew Lee was taken and bitten by a white in July," he said.

"Last year, between July and September, the jet boat went out 4 times, this year it was 54 times."

Cr Wright said there were discussions as recent as yesterday with the DPI about eco-friendly netting being installed at Lighthouse Beach.

"I would have liked it in (already) but the netting hasn't even been made yet, but the guys coming over to look at the position later in the week," he said.

"I think it's been fast-tracked but there's only been one beach as far as I know that have used this netting, and they haven't even made it yet."

 

UPDATE, 9:10PM: Richmond LAC Inspector Nicole Bruce said the surfer was in the water alone at Lighthouse Beach when the attack occurred at about 6.20pm.

"A person on the beach heard him scream and saw him stumble out of the water," she said.

"He's come out of the water with a large bite wound to his left thigh.

"A passerby has administered first aid, ambulance and police were on scene soon (after).

"It was quite a large bite, but at this stage he seems to be stable, so hopefully he will be okay.

"The board has been taken back to the police station. We've got department of primary industries on site as well. They'll inspect the board and hopefully determine what sort of shark it was.

"There's some indication that it was a bull shark."

 

20-year-old Sam Morgan has been attacked by a shark at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina.
20-year-old Sam Morgan has been attacked by a shark at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina.

 

8:30PM: THE victim of this evening's shark attack has been identified as 20-year-old Sam Morgan. 

The Lennox - Ballina surfing community have sent their well wishes to Sam via the Le-Ba Boardriders Facebook Page.

"In shock tonight with the news that Sam Morgan has been attacked at North Wall this evening," they wrote.

"We are all thinking of you mate and praying that you will be OK."

 

20-year-old Sam Morgan.
20-year-old Sam Morgan. Photo from Facebook: Le-Ba Boardriders

EARLIER: A SURFER has been attacked by a shark at Lighthouse Beach at Ballina. 

Surf Life Saving NSW duty officer, Garry Meredith, said the victim, a man in his twenties, suffered a "significant" injury to his thigh.

He said the injury was in a similar place to where shark attack victim Mat Lee was bitten.

Mr Meredith would not confirm whether the victim was a local resident, but it is understood he is a well-known Ballina man and experienced surfer.

"He was halfway along Lighthouse Beach at Ballina," Mr Meredith said.

"The conditions were fine today … nothing out of the ordinary.

"It's not good for the town; it's the last thing we needed.

"We now go into a 24-hour beach closure."

Topics:  ballina, editors picks, shark attack, sharks



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