A woman badly mauled by a great white shark is recovering in hospital after the first attack at Sydney's Botany Bay in 25 years.
Anna Shurapey was only 20 metres offshore at Little Congwong Beach Friday night at dusk, when she was bitten.
It is believed a pair of fishermen helped her to shore and called for help. The 55-year-old accountant was treated on the sand by paramedics.
She survived, but suffered a severe bite and deep cuts to her right leg, with flesh ripped off the bone.
Randwick Mayor Lindsay Shurey told 7 News the attack was unbelievable.
"It's shocking, and it almost felt like a joke first of all. I thought 'no, this can't be happening'."
On inspecting the victim's gashes shark experts ascertained the bite came from a juvenile great white, between 2.7 and 3.2 metres long.
"I'd be surprised if she had any severe damage, but were hoping she will recover soon," shark biologist Dr Vic Peddemors said.
The beach at La Perouse and surrounding swimming spots have been shut all Saturday, and will remain closed as authorities attempt to track the shark down.
"We've searched the area and not been able to identify any marine life," Surf Life Saving NSW's George Hales told 7 News.
Local resident Carl Barker said other residents try and keep watch on visitors who swim far out.
"It's always a bit of a worry. People try to keep their eye on them."
Ms Shurapey is in a stable condition at St George Hospital, where doctors have cleaned her wounds and performed surgery Saturday afternoon.
She is expected to remain in hospital for a few days.
Lifeguards have since closed the beach, along with the surrounding Congwong, Frenchmans and Yarra beaches, and they will remain closed for at least 24 hours.