Former trainer "not surprised" Craig threw punches at shark

UPDATE 4.45pm: SHARK attack victim Craig Ison was a champion boxer in the 1990s, and his former trainer says he was "not surprised" to find out that Mr Ison got a few punches in during the attack.

Ballina resident Denis Magnay trained Mr Ison to his victory as the Far North Coast champion boxer in 1991.

"He was a good champion," Mr Magnay said.

"I heard Craig punched the shark … my son told me, and I said, 'yep, that would be bloody right. That's him'.

"Craig lived at Wardell at the time he was a boxer, and he was always a great guy.

"He fought in the lighter divisions and he was very good. Very quietly spoken; a nice guy."


UPDATE 1.56pm: SHARK attack victim Craig Ison is still in surgery at Lismore Base Hospital.

His best friend, Tom Augustine, said he'd been informed that there had been some "complications".

He said they were still waiting for more news, but it is believed Craig is still in a serious but stable condition.

It is understood Craig's mother, fiancé and niece are at the hospital.


UPDATE 1.30pm: BALLINA Shire Council mayor David Wright said plans are underway for an aerial surveillance trial backed by the state government.

A meeting was held this morning with a newly established advisory group led by Richmond Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay.

"We can't prevent attacks but we believe having planes and helicopters to monitor the beaches will help," Cr Wright said.

"We're doing everything we possibly can do … Great White Sharks are protected, even to tag it you have to ask for special licences.

Parliamentary secretary for the North Coast Chris Gulaptis and Ballina MP Tamara Smith are members of the advisory group and both have backed the council's proposal for aerial surveillance.


UPDATE 11.23am: FOLLOWING the shark attack on Evans Head surfer Craig Ison this morning, Richmond Valley Council mayor Ernie Bennett has said there has been a lack of communication about sightings over the past few weeks.

Cr Bennett said he was surprised to hear about the number of unreported sightings in the area.

"It's been very interesting talking to a number of people here at Evans Head this morning about sighting a number of sharks off the main headlands," he said.

"There's also been a discussion with others from Chinamans about how they've had sightings over there but I haven't heard it reported, so I guess it's a bit of lack of communication."

Cr Bennett was at the main beach this morning talking to the surfer who helped save Mr Ison's life this morning, Geoff Hill.

Mr Hill was shaken up but felt fortunate to leave the water unharmed.

"He was saying he had a wet suit on, which gave him a bit of protection," Cr Bennett said.

The surfer said to Cr Bennett that Mr Ison was first hit around the hip area before he began fighting the shark off.

 IT took three paramedics, a doctor, and a police officer to help stabilise Craig Ison, 52, following a shark attack at Evans Head. Mr Ison was surfing 100m off Main Beach with Geoff Hill at 6am. Photo: Channel 7
IT took three paramedics, a doctor, and a police officer to help stabilise Craig Ison, 52, following a shark attack at Evans Head. Mr Ison was surfing 100m off Main Beach with Geoff Hill at 6am. Photo: Channel 7 Contributed


UPDATE 10.45am: IT HAS been determined that the shark involved in this morning's attack at Main Beach, Evans Head was a Great White, a spokesman from the Department of Primary Industries has confirmed.

Evans man, Craig Ison, 52, is currently undergoing surgery at Lismore Base Hospital following the incident. 


UPDATE 10.35am: POLICE have thanked a surfer and passer-by for their quick thinking which may have saved Craig Ison's life after he was attacked by a shark this morning.

Crime Manager Richmond Local Area Command detective inspector Cameron Lindsay said they stopped Mr Ison's bleeding using a tourniquet and a surfboard leg rope.

"With the help of that other surfer and the passerby they were able to render first aid at the scene, particularly tourniqueting his injuries," he said.

"Those people are to be praised for their quick thinking… they applied the tourniquet using leg ropes from the surf board."

Ambulance arrived shortly after and rushed Mr Ison to Lismore Base Hospital.

"Between Evans Head and Lismore they were met by a trauma doctor where they continued medical assistance," Detective Lindsay said.

There will be a meeting today between Surf Live Saving and the police to discuss possible mitigation strategies with the use of aerial surveillance and mitigation devices.

Detective Lindsay has urged people to be vigilant around beaches and report any sightings to the Triple-0.

"We have had a number of sightings and also some beach closures because of those sightings," he said.

"There is a risk at the moment … watch for those beach signs, if police attending the beach ask you to remove yourself from the water we're really asking people just to be vigilant, and take notice of any messages."

Mr Ison is currently undergoing surgery for his injuries but is believed to be in a stable condition. 


UPDATE 10am: THE best friend of shark attack victim Craig Ison has told how his mate fought off the shark and is lucky to be alive.

Surfer Tom Augustine is currently waiting at Lismore Base Hospital and is expected to be allowed to see Craig this morning.

"I was meant to be there … every day at dawn we paddle out together, but today I was running late," he said.

"I'd just put my board in the car when I got the phone call.

"He punched the shark twice, apparently, and managed to get back on his board and catch a wave in.

"As far as we know at the moment, he won't lose an arm or a leg.

"I feel half responsible … I wasn't there.

"The last two days I'd actually been on shark patrol, sitting up on the surf club with my binoculars looking for sharks.

"We've been talking about shark attacks because the dredging (in the Evans River) has stirred up all the black sand.

"I tell the guys all the time, don't paddle in the gutter, use the rip … we've been really aware, particularly over the last couple of months."


Surfboard belonging to a surfer who was bitten by a shark on his legs and hands at Evans Head.
Surfboard belonging to a surfer who was bitten by a shark on his legs and hands at Evans Head. Contributed

UPDATE 9.23am: IT took three paramedics, a doctor, and a police officer to help stabilise Craig Ison, 52, following this morning's shark attack at Evans Head.

Mr Ison was surfing 100m off Main Beach with Geoff Hill at 6am when the incident occurred, NSW Police Media have said.

Around 6am, Mr Ison spotted what he believed to be a shark and shouted out to the other surfer - also a man - to get out of the water.

As he paddled towards shore, Mr Ison was attacked by the shark which bit his left leg.

The impact of the attack knocked the man off his board.

The man punched the shark in an attempt to scare it away; during the struggle, the shark also bit his left arm.

The man eventually made it to shore where a passer-by applied a tourniquet to his leg.

NSW Ambulance has said that following the call, two paramedics worked to stabilise the Mr Ison while a police officer began to drive the ambulance back to Lismore hospital.

A short time later a NSW Ambulance vehicle with a doctor and paramedic on board met the ambulance.

The doctor and two paramedics worked on the patient while the third paramedic drove them to Lismore Hospital.

The police officer then drove the empty vehicle the doctor had arrived in back to its base in Lismore.

Mr Ison is now at Lismore Hospital undergoing treatment.

Main Beach and two other local beaches - Shark Bay and Chinamans Beach - have all been closed until 6.30am tomorrow.

The situation will be re-assessed tomorrow morning.


UPDATE 8.15am: EVANS Head resident Craig Ison has been confirmed as the victim of this morning's shark attack at Main Beach.

Geoff Hill, of Woodburn, was with Craig at the time of the attack.

"We were just paddling out this morning and Craig was 20m ahead of me," he said.

"Then he said, 'Go in, there's a shark'.

"But it grabbed him as he turned around … he managed to get himself on his board.

"It was like watching a Mick Fanning replay.

"I paddled to him but by then he was on his board and paddling back.

"We put him on my board like a stretcher."

Mr Hill said they surfed every morning.

"It was such a beautiful day … we were having second thoughts about whether we should go in, but we did," he said.

"We should have stuck to those second thoughts."


UPDATE 7.32am: NSW Police media has released a statement on the shark attack, saying they expect the beach to be closed today.

Police have confirmed some of the details in previous reports, describing the victim as a surfer and saying he "sustained puncture wounds to his legs and his hands" in the attack.

As of 7.14am, the man was still en-route to Lismore Base Hospital with a police officer driving the ambulance while paramedics worked on him.

The statement says police will meet with surf life savers over the incident shortly.


UPDATE 7.18am: A MAN aged in his 40s has suffered wounds to his arm and thigh in an apparent shark attack at Evans Head.

NSW Ambulance media said emergency services were called to the beach just after 6.10am today.

Paramedics stabilised the man at the scene before taking him to Lismore Base Hospital via road ambulance in a serious condition.

It was not clear whether the man was swimming or surfing at the beach.


INITIAL REPORT: THERE are unconfirmed reports of a shark attack this morning at Evans Head.

Evans Head Volunteer Marine Rescue confirms an ambulance was called to Main Beach about 6.30am where a person was treated and taken away.

Reports from the emergency services scanner suggest a surfer has been bitten by a shark and is being driven to Lismore Base Hospital in an ambulance now.

It is suggested a police officer is driving the vehicle while paramedics try to stabilise the victim.

More to come.

Topics:  editors picks evans head shark attack sharks

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