Sydney Harbour shark attack victim Lauren O’Neill thanks ‘heroic’ neighbours
An Australian woman who was attacked by a bull shark in Sydney Harbour has expressed her gratitude to her “heroic” neighbors for their assistance.
During a sunset swim near a wharf on Monday, Lauren O’Neill was bitten by the shark, resulting in severe leg injuries. Surgeons reportedly worked tirelessly through the night to prevent the need for amputation, as reported by Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Ms. O’Neill praised the life-saving efforts of bystanders, medical personnel, and law enforcement officers.
She explained that she had been enjoying a “brief swim” close to the shore in Elizabeth Bay after a hot day, a routine she often followed, when the attack occurred.
A statement from the hospital where she is under treatment conveyed her gratitude: “She wishes to extend her heartfelt appreciation to her courageous and compassionate neighbors for their vital assistance.”
Local media outlets have highlighted that Ms. O’Neill, known for her enthusiasm for kayaking and swimming, resided near an ocean pool equipped with shark nets but frequently opted to swim in open waters.
Witnesses have said they rushed to the scene and applied first aid after hearing her yelling. They helped Ms O’Neill out of the water and one woman – a vet – applied a tourniquet to stem the bleeding, something credited with potentially saving her life.
Ms O’Neill said she was “immensely grateful” to paramedics and police for their “swift and caring actions at the scene” as well as the medical teams treating her.
“Her likely full recovery is testament to their extraordinary skills,” the statement said.
She also thanked her loved ones and the public for their support but requested privacy as she recovered.
Sydney Harbour is a well-known habitat for bull sharks, but attacks in the area are rare.
Experts have reiterated warnings to locals to stay out of the harbour on hot days and at dawn or dusk – times of greater shark activity.