A beach has been closed after a teenage surfer was bitten by what experts believe was a great white shark.
Authorities confirmed the incident unfolded on the shore of New South Wales' Central Coast in Australia today (31 August).
Both Avoca and North Avoca beaches have stopped allowing visitors for the time being after what was described as a 'shark bite incident'.
Central Coast Council took to Twitter to share the announcement, writing: "Avoca and North Avoca beaches are currently closed following a shark bite incident at approx. 10.30am today.
SHARK BITE: Early this morning we responded to a shark bite at North Avoca and treated a teenage boy for injuries to his hand. He was taken to Gosford Hospital. #nswambulance— NSW Ambulance (@NSWAmbulance) August 31, 2022
"Our thoughts are with the young surfer involved. Please avoid both beaches at this time until the incident can be investigated further."
The NSW Ambulance service also confirmed the news, saying it responded to a shark bite alert early this morning at North Avoca and treated a 'teenage boy for injuries to his hand'.
Officials also reported that a drone had been deployed to the coastal area to find the sea predator, which experts at NSW's Department of Primary Industries have determined was most likely a great white.
A spokesperson said: "The teenager suffered lacerations to his hand and was transported to hospital where he received stitches in one hand; he has since been released.
"NSW DPI shark biologists have assessed photographs of the teenager’s injuries and surfboard and have determined the bite indentations are indicative of a White Shark."
Thankfully the wounds weren't fatal, and after being rushed to Gosford Hospital the young surfer was discharged later today.
It's not known how long the beaches will be closed for, but local visitors have been warned to follow the NSW SharkSmart Twitter page and app to stay up to date about the latest alerts.
While shark attacks are rare worldwide, statistics suggest Australia records around 20 incidents on average each year, with many of them taking place in NSW and Western Australia.
Earlier this year, the victim of a fatal shark attack in the country was identified to be a British expat.
Simon Nellist was mauled by the animal off Little Bay in east Sydney on 16 February in what was the first fatal attack in the city in 59 years.
Most beaches were subsequently shut down and surf lifesavers on jet skis patrolled a 25km (15.5 mile) stretch of water between Bondi and Cronulla.
In the hours after the attack, body parts were retrieved from the water and search teams dropped green dye in the ocean in order to determine which way the currents were moving in a bid to find more remains.
Based on footage supplied by a member of the public, government experts estimated the shark to be a great white at least three metres in length.