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12/28/2012 04:32 pm ET

Diamond Head Shark Attack: Australia Surfer Fights Back, Loses Fingers (VIDEO)

A man surfing at Diamond Head, near Port Macquarie, Australia, lost two fingers and a suffered a bite to his thigh when he was attacked by what is believed to be a bull shark Friday.

The 29-year-old surfer was in the water amid a pod of dolphins when the shark attacked, Adam Clarke, who witnessed the attack, told NBC News.

A spokeswoman for Surf Life Saving told the Sydney Morning Herald that the surfer, whose name has not been released, was riding a stand-up paddle board when he was bit on the thigh.

"The thigh wound didn't lose any flesh - it was a serious slash rather than a chunk of flesh being bitten out of him and the paramedics said it would be able to be stitched up," Senior Constable Chris Rowley from Laurieton police told the Herald Sun.

Witnesses said the man used his board to fight off the attacking shark, but had his fingers chewed off in the process.

According to local media, fellow surfers used their board ropes as a tourniquet to stop the man from bleeding out on the beach. That quick thinking may have saved his life.

"All his friends did a marvellous job. His fellow surfers and his friends here on the beach, they really did save his life until we got here. They did well," paramedic Ian Spencer told the Telegraph U.K.

The man was airlifted by helicopter to an area hospital about 175 miles away. He is in stable condition.

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