2 Feb 2010

Southland teenager fights off shark

5:17 pm on 2 February 2010

A teenage girl has fought off a 1.5-metre sand shark and survived relatively unskirmished when she was attacked while swimming at a beach in Southland.

Lydia Ward, aged 14, was boogie boarding in shallow waters at Oreti Beach near Invercargill at about 6.30pm on Monday with her brother when the incident occured.

She told Morning Report she stood on a shark and suffered some small bites, but was otherwise fine.

She said she saw a big grey thing twisting while biting her in the water, so she hit it with her board.

A shark expert says sand sharks are found only in deepwater in a handful of places off northern New Zealand.

DoC marine scientist Clinton Duffy says it's more likely to have been the broad nosed seven gilled shark.

Mr Duffy says the last time this species attacked someone was in 1999, a girl, aged 13, also at Oreti beach.