How heroic bystanders saved the life of surfer attacked by great white shark

The flatmate of a surfer who had a chunk of flesh torn from his thigh by a shark has recalled the terrifying moment the great white emerged from underneath them.

Sam Edwardes was surfing near Belongil Beach in Byron Bay about 6.40am on Sunday when the shark sunk its teeth into his left leg.

His flatmate Dane Davidson was only 15 metres away when the shark attacked, knocking the surfer from his board.

“The thrashing and splashing was horrendous, the screaming to match, it was a sound you do not want to hear,” he told Sunrise as he held up his mate’s surfboard showing the shark’s teeth marks.

Sam Edwardes was knocked from his board while surfing at the popular Byron Bay beach on Sunday. Source: 7 News
The surfer’s flatmate, Dane Davidson (left) said he could hear the horrible screams moments after he went into the water. Source: 7 News

The pair struggled back to shore but it wasn’t until they were out of the water that Dane realised just how severe Sam’s injuries were.

“I didn’t realise until we were on the beach that there was a big chunk taken out of his leg,” he added.

“There was a lot of blood and bleeding.”

Witnesses rushed to help, using towels and clothing as a makeshift tourniquet before the 41-year-old was airlifted to the Gold Coast University Hospital and rushed into surgery.

Those on the beach are now being praised as heroes with authorities saying it would have been a different story if not for their quick-thinking.

“Probably without their swift actions we could be dealing with a whole different situation here this morning,” Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe said.

Sam was airlifted to Gold Coast University Hospital where he underwent more than four hours of surgery. Source: 7 News
Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe shows the bite mark left on Sam’s surfboard. Source: 7 News
Belongil Beach remains closed, however some surfers are reportedly still entering the water. Source: 7 News

“The actions of those on the beach could almost be called heroic. Literally they have saved this patients life,” NSW Ambulance’s Daniel Willis added.

Sam endured four-and-a-half hours of surgery and remains in a serious condition.

Despite the beaches here in Byron bay being officially closed there were many willing to take the risk.

It’s the second emergency in as many days to strike the north coast, with Ballina local Raz Butronwood still missing.

The search continued over the weekend  for the 69-year-old life saving veteran – who never returned from his morning swim on Saturday.

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