Port Macquarie Shark Attack Victim Faces Long-Road To Recovery - Stab Mag

Port Macquarie Shark Attack Victim Faces Long-Road To Recovery

How you can help surfer and father of two Toby Begg.

elsewhere // Aug 27, 2023
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Toby Begg, a 44-year-old father of two, was bitten by an estimated 4-meter-long Great White shark while surfing at Lighthouse Beach in Port Macquarie last Friday. The encounter led to a struggle that persisted for approximately 30 seconds before Begg managed to swim to the shore, and witnesses came to his aid and called for medical assistance.

Onlookers reported that Begg fought off the shark, displaying considerable resolve during the ordeal. An off-duty emergency doctor who happened to be present at the scene provided crucial immediate medical attention by applying a tourniquet to stem the bleeding and stabilize Begg’s condition until paramedics arrived.

Begg sustained “serious injuries from his hip to his calf and lower legs,” according to medical assessments.

Initially labeled as life-threatening by the police, Begg’s condition has since shown improvement, being reclassified as serious but stable, according to John Hunter Hospital authorities.

Family members, including Begg’s brother-in-law Chris Lenihan, conveyed that the full extent of Begg’s injuries is still being assessed. It’s anticipated that he will require multiple surgeries and an extended period of rehabilitation for a complete recovery. Lenihan emphasized Begg’s role as a skilled builder, a business owner, and the primary breadwinner for his family.

In a display of solidarity, a GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help Begg’s family cover medical expenses and the potential prolonged recovery period. The campaign has already amassed more than $10,000 in contributions.

Police Chief Inspector Martin Burke detailed the circumstances of the attack, stating that Begg’s efforts to repel the shark lasted about half a minute before he managed to swim ashore, where he became aware of his significant lower leg injuries.

An eyewitness, a teenager, described the scene as Begg reached the shore, noting that he was bleeding profusely and appeared to be in a state of shock. Bystanders attempted to provide assistance by using a surfboard’s leg rope and makeshift sticks to stabilize his injured leg.

Begg was attended to by NSW Ambulance Inspector Joshua Smyth, who stated that the prompt actions of the bystanders were crucial in initially controlling the hemorrhaging and ensuring immediate medical attention.

The Port Macquarie Hastings Council has taken measures to enhance coastal safety, deploying 15 smart drumlines and utilizing drones and a listening station to detect tagged sharks. Several great white sharks, including a 2.28-meter shark at Shelly Beach and a 2.96-meter shark at North Shore Beach, have been recently tagged and released in the area.

Lighthouse Beach was temporarily closed following the incident, and Surf Lifesaving NSW initiated a drone search to ascertain the shark’s size and species, emphasizing precautionary measures for the safety of beachgoers and surfers.

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