Surfer mauled by a shark off Byron Bay in Australia

YDNEY, Australia – A surfer was in a hospital with wounds to his back after he was mauled by a shark Sunday off Australia’s east coast.

“I just freaked out,” Jabez Reitman, 35, told reporters as he was taken from an ambulance at Byron Bay Hospital.

“I thought it was a dolphin at first until I started feeling and realized it was pretty significant lacerations,” he said.

Reitman said he was surfing off a beach south of Byron Bay, a tourist town 800 kilometres (500 miles) north of Sydney, when he was attacked by a 2-to-3-meter (7-to-10-foot) shark.

“I should’ve stayed in bed,” he said of his decision to go surfing Sunday, adding that he was “shocked but in good spirits.”

Reitman was later transferred from Byron Bay to Gold Coast University Hospital, which reported his condition as stable.

A 50-year-old swimmer was killed by a shark at Byron Bay in September.