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Shark: American Surfer Attacked in Australia

Jun 24, 2015 11:58 AM EDT
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American surfer Lily Kumpe, 37, was attacked by a "gigantic" shark off Western Australia on Wednesday morning, telling NBC News that she felt "very lucky." 

Evidence of the shark remains in a jagged bite taken out of her surfboard-measuring around 14 inches, as seen in this Australian Broadcasting Corporation photo.

"It just snuck up and I felt a large impact," Kumpe told NBC News. "It was incredibly strong...I was laying down paddling and then it hit me and I fell off into the water."

The attack took place off Ocean Beach in Denmark, Australia, at around 9:30 a.m. local time (11:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday).

Kumpe's husband, Mike Taylor, 45, who is from Lacey, Washington, saw something come up and lunge at his wife. "The next thing I knew Lily was screaming in the water," he told NBC News.

Her face, hands and feet were cut and both of her shins were bruised. Kumpe, originally from South Padre Island, Texas, was not sure whether the shark or her surfboard caused the injuries, according to NBC News.

Witnesses said that a pod of dolphins helped chase the shark away after it knocked the surfer into the water, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Kumpe initially thought the "large dark mass" that they saw might have been a dolphin from a pod they'd seen swimming.

After examining the surfboard, Kumpe said officials with the Department of Fisheries in Western Australia told her "it was definitely a shark," according to NBC News.

The couple has lived in Australia for more than a decade, reported NBC News.

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