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Surfer seriously injured in Australia shark attack

A shark has seriously injured a surfer in the latest attack to hit Australia's central east coast.

The 38-year-old man suffered life-threatening injuries while surfing in the late afternoon with a friend at Port Macquarie, 200 miles north of Sydney, a police statement said.

He was taken to the local hospital and was expected to be flown to Sydney, police said.

Three weeks ago, a 52-year-old surfer was seriously injured as he repeatedly punched a shark that mauled him off Evans Head, 140 miles north of Port Macquarie.

The attack is the 11th in five months along a 12-mile stretch of northern New South Wales state coast around the tourist town of Ballina, where a 41-year-old Japanese tourist was killed on February 9.

The only fatal attack in Australia since then was last month when a 46-year-old diver was killed off the island state of Tasmania, 1,000 miles south of Ballina.

Few Australians surf during the current southern hemisphere winter, but surfer numbers have dwindled further off New South Wales due to recent shark attacks.

Sharks are common off Australia's beaches, but fatal attacks are rare. The country has averaged fewer than two deadly attacks per year in recent decades.

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