Shark attack leaves SA woman with serious head injuries

Bridgette O'Shannessy, 32, an environmental consultant, was swimming near Adelaide.

Bridgette O'Shannessy, 32, an environmental consultant, was swimming near Adelaide. Photo: LinkedIn/ Seven News

A woman who was bitten on the head in a horrifying encounter with a shark south of Adelaide has been identified as diver Bridgette O’Shannessy.

The 32-year-old experienced ocean lover came face-to-face with a white pointer while swimming with her partner off a reef shelf at Port Noarlunga on Friday.

Seven News reports her partner Brian Gordon Roberts pushed the shark away as the attack unfolded.

O’Shannessy suffered terrible facial injuries. She reportedly underwent surgery which included the removal of some teeth after being rushed to Adelaide’s Flinders Medical Centre.

“Unfortunately Bridgette was hit by a white pointer at Port Noarlunga reef yesterday,” Roberts wrote on social media.

“She’s out of theatre now in ICU and in a stable condition.

“She’s doing really well considering the circumstances.”

Bridgette O’Shannessy suffered head and facial injuries. Photo: Facebook

Paramedics were called to Port Noarlunga Jetty at 1.20pm Friday following reports a woman had been bitten by a shark.

O’Shannessy, an environmental consultant, was initially said to have suffered life-threatening head injuries.

Her condition was later updated to serious but not life-threatening, according to SA Police.

Emergency services evacuated people from the water to search for the shark but have since reopened the beach after no trace of the animal could be found.

Off-duty lifesaver Ray Tomlinson told 9News he raced to assist an incoming craft onto the beach, and helped the victim’s partner apply pressure to injuries on her face and head.

‘Major shark attack’

“He (Roberts) had applied pressure for quite a while and the patient wasn’t in any stress,” Tomlinson told 9News.

“When I could see a small amount of blood, I actually assumed it was a fall or a grazing on the reef.

“I certainly wouldn’t have thought it was a major shark attack”.

Bridgette O’Shannessy’s profile photo on Facebook. Photo: Facebook

The suspected attack marks the third shark-related incident in two months in South Australia.

A 55-year-old man surfing at Granites Beach on the state’s west coast on October 31 disappeared and is believed to have been taken by a shark.

The man’s surfboard was all that remained of the attack, witnesses said.

Pamela Cook, 64, was taken to Mount Gambier hospital in a serious condition after a shark bit her leg at Beachport on South Australia’s southeast coast on October 2.

The incidents follow the suspected fatal attack of 46-year-old teacher Simon Baccanello in May who disappeared without a trace while surfing at Walkers Rock Beach, about 365km west of Adelaide.

Topics: shark attack
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