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French tourist attacked by shark in New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND -- A French tourist was recovering in a New Zealand hospital Thursday after a shark mauled her leg while she was body-boarding at a remote beach.

The incident unfolded at Porpoise Bay on a warm and calm afternoon, according to the owner of Catlins Surf School, Nick Smart. 

The shark bit the woman on her leg around 2 p.m., RadioNZ reports. 

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Smart said he had just finished instructing seven surfers when the victim, who appeared to be in her early 20s, was attacked. 

"I saw somebody running and instantly had a very strong feeling that things were not right," Smart said.  

The surf instructor said the woman's friends dragged her from the waves and up the beach. They used towels to apply pressure to her wound to stanch the bleeding.

He brought a stretcher to the victim and moved her to a beach house that had a fire going while they waited for a helicopter to arrive. 

The woman, who had been playing in the surf with her boyfriend and another French couple, remained conscious and calm after the attack, according to Smart. 

"She handled it really, really well," Smart added. "She was calm, not at all hysterical. I assured her she wasn't going to die, and that a helicopter would be coming. She was in a bit of shock."

After about 40 minutes, the woman was flown nearly 100 miles to Dunedin Hospital.   

At this time, she remains hospitalized in stable condition and is continuing to have her injuries assessed, hospital officials said. 

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