Shark attack reported in Balian, American surfer in intensive care

UPDATE Bali hospital says shark attack victim, American surfer, will transfer to Singapore for medical treatment

It’s not often we hear of sharks in Bali, especially shark attacks, but an American surfer was reportedly injured by one in Balian, Tabanan. 

Surfing site Stab Magazine ran an article on Tuesday evening about a surfer, who is believed to be from California, who was bitten on Monday on his elbow and forearm at around 7 am.

The Californian, who has not been identified at this time, apparently had a killer survival instinct—he is said to have ridden a wave all the way in to the beach, where he was rescued by local surfers. 

The magazine interviewed Mentawai charter boat owner and local Balian resident Twiggy Van Ryan, who was on the beach at the time and witnessed the shark encounter. 

“At first I thought he’d hit the bottom and maybe dislocated his shoulder or something. His girlfriend came running up saying it was a shark attack, so I gave her my singlet and followed her back down the beach,” Van Ryan was quoted as saying by Stab Magazine.

“It was a pretty heavy wound, maybe four inches either side of the tip of the elbow, basically his whole elbow had gone into the shark’s mouth and it was pretty badly damaged as the shark pulled back. Really messy.

“We wrapped the wound properly and he went into shock — kind of a short blackout. Then the locals and myself tied the top of his arm to slow the bleeding and then got him in a car and he was taken to hospital.”

After seeing the carnage from the incident himself, Van Ryan says he expects the surfer will need some serious time in the hospital. 

“It was pretty gnarly,” he said. “I think he’ll be in hospital for quite some time.

“It appeared that he may have escaped ligament damage, as he could still move his fingers, but there was lots of muscle torn, for sure. The local guys did a great job helping, it was a team effort.”

Let’s hope he has a speedy recovery!

Even though we rarely hear of shark attacks in Bali, the news wasn’t so shocking for everyone. Stab quoted American expat, Eddie Biancardi, as saying that this is the fifth shark attack in five years at this West Bali beach. 

“The truth is, there have always been sharks here. I’ve been living in Balian for nine years and surfing here for about 15 years, and I’ve always seen sharks. They have a tendency to jump out of the water,” Biancardi said.

“Most of the attacks have been while the water was murky from the river flowing, which yesterday it definitely was.”

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