The Mexican Navy is searching for sharks near Pacific surfing beaches after two people were killed and another maimed in a series of attacks.

Three boats and a helicopter patrolled the sea while Navy and rescue teams scanned the horizon with binoculars from popular beaches around the resort of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

"We've been monitoring the beaches; we've done reconnaissance flights," Rear Admiral Arturo Bernal said.

Surfer Bruce Grimes from Texas was bitten on the arm on Saturday off nearby Playa Linda beach, making him the third target of a shark attack in the area in a month.

Two attacks, one in April and another earlier this month, killed a Mexican and an American. They were the first deaths caused by sharks off Mexico's Pacific coast in 30 years, according to official records.

Grimes, 49, said he paddled madly towards the shore after feeling a shark glide across the bottom of his feet as he straddled his surfboard.

"Then it bumped me really hard. I thought, 'That's definitely a big shark,'" he said. "I took about three more strokes and he grabbed my arm."

Grimes managed to pull himself free and make it to the beach. He then drove himself to hospital, where he received 100 stitches.

On Friday, Mexican surfer Osvaldo Mata, 21, died after a 6-foot shark seized him, bit off one of his hands and mauled his thigh. That followed the death in late April of a 24-year-old American who was also attacked while surfing.

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