A professional surfer has been mauled by a shark off the Australian east coast.

A police statement said Brett Connellan was flown by helicopter to a Sydney's St. George Hospital in a serious condition after he was attacked on Wednesday evening 120 kilometers (75 miles) to the south off a beach near Kiama.

Police say the 22-year-old sustained injuries to a thigh and a hand in the attack off Bombo Beach and was helped 100 meters (yards) to shore by a fellow surfer.

Ambulance Service spokesman Terry Morrow says beachgoers saved Connellan's life by applying a tourniquet to his upper thigh before paramedics reached the scene.

Connellan did not see the shark. Experts are examining his wounds to determine the shark's size and species.