Ballina shark attack victim dragged ashore: witness
A MAN running out of the surf waving his arms was reason enough for long-time Ballina resident Allan Everson to think something was very wrong.
He was already on the phone to 000 when he realised the man wasn't yelling 'heart attack' but 'shark attack'.
"I got down there as they were bringing him into shore," he said.
"I couldn't see the extent of his injuries (at first) because he had a full length wetsuit on. They (his friends) had him face down and a surfboard covering him when I got there.
"They were really good, the two mates. I could see they were in shock but they held it together really well."
Mr Everson said he had been walking along North Wall at Ballina with his daughter and grandkids when he saw victim Mathew Lee's friend running out of the surf and calling for help.
He said Mr Lee, 32, had been body boarding about 100m off the wall, 50m from the shore, with another body boarder and a surfer.
While on the phone to 000, Mr Everson said he was asked to determine the extent of Mr Lee's injuries.
"Once I had a look, it was a bit of a shock, with his legs. He was a fair mess," Mr Everson said.
"One leg was worse than the other. The legs were still on but the wetsuit was probably holding him together … it was terrible. I didn't see the shark, but it must have been a big one because of the extent of his injuries."
As a long time surfer and Ballina resident, Mr Everson said the shark attack, Ballina's second in just six months, had discouraged him from going in the water.
"I was a surfer too, I've surfed here all my life, and it's only the last few years there's been a few more attacks," he said.
"It's terrible, really."