Shark attack victim and aspiring footballer critical after surgery
A 17-year-old boy remains sedated and in a critical condition after he was attacked by up to 10 reef sharks in the Northern Territory.
Sean Whitcombe was spearfishing with a family friend about 30km off the coast of Nhulunbuy when he was mauled yesterday morning.
Sean was left with deep lacerations to his left arm and right leg, and was airlifted to Darwin for surgery.
Friend Joseph Smith came to Sean's aid and tried desperately to treat his injuries.
"I ripped my shirt off and my hat and just started using anything that was on the little tinny to apply first aid to stop the bleeding," Mr Smith said.
Sean was operated on today and surgeons have told 9News it will be another 48 hours before they can reassess his injuries.
"There were at least two specialties involved, there will be more operations, there will be look backs, there will have to be tissue cover and potentially nerve repair," Dr Mahiban Thomas, director of surgical services at Royal Darwin Hospital, said.
While Sean's hand was salvaged, he faces more operations and there is uncertainty to whether he will ever regain full functionality.
Sean is an aspiring footballer and has played for Southern Districts' under-18s team in the NTFL competition.
CareFlight spokesman David Wheeldon yesterday said Sean had told a nurse he had been "mobbed" by the sharks.
"He was in good spirits by the time he got back to Darwin," Mr Wheeldon said.
"The young man explained to the CareFlight nurse that he had been mobbed by more than 10 sharks."