ADELAIDE, Australia, April 25 (UPI) -- A 26-year-old surfer was hospitalized in Southern Australia Saturday after he was attacked by a massive great white shark -- which bit the man's thigh and swam off with his leg in its mouth, witnesses said.
Chris Blowes was surfing at Fishery Bay, which lies to the west of Adelaide, when he was attacked by the great white -- known in the scientific community as a Carcharodon carcharias -- one of the largest sharks known to humankind.
Several other people were in the area at the time of the attack, The Inquisitr reported, but no one else was injured.
One surfer who had been in the water around the time of the attack said he exited the sea and turned around just in time to see the shark swimming off with a man's leg and surfboard in its mouth.
"The shark came in and bit his leg off and the guys helped him in and carried him up the cliff," he said in a report by Adelaide Now. "I was just watching the shark go out to the ocean with his board still attached ... Obviously the shark still had his leg and he was still swimming around with it."
Witnesses said the weather conditions around the beach were dark and rainy, which makes sharks a little more difficult to spot. The shark who attacked the surfer was reported to be about 18-feet long.
Britain's Daily Mail reported that witnesses said a large amount of blood was seen in the water immediately after the attack -- and that bystanders helped to stop the surfer's bleeding.
Neither Blowes' condition or prognosis was immediately reported.
Great white sharks are well known for their reputation of attacking humans -- especially surfers. Experts say that's because from the sharks' point-of-view underwater, people gliding along the surface on their surfboards bear a strong resemblance to seals and dolphins.
Great whites are also some of the longest-living sharks in the world. Scientists say they mature at around age 15 and can live for 70 years or longer.
Officials and witnesses posted signs on the beach following the attack, warning others about the shark danger.
On average, officials say, about 75 shark attacks are reported worldwide every year. Of nearly 500 different shark species, only three account for most of the unprovoked attacks on humans -- the great white, the tiger shark and the bull shark.
Dating back to 1580, when records on shark attacks first began, Australia is the nation with the second-most instances of shark attacks. The United States leads the world, by a wide margin, with more than 1,100 attacks on record.