A man injured by a spear from a speargun is loaded aboard the CareFlight rescue helicopter at Avalon. Picture: Sebastien Dekker
A man injured by a spear from a speargun is loaded aboard the CareFlight rescue helicopter at Avalon. Picture: Sebastien Dekker

Shot by spear, man’s ‘incredible escape’

A NORTHERN BEACHES man who was shot with a speargun has fled his attacker in a car, despite the spear still sticking out from his chest just centimetres from his heart.

Police say the attack would be classified as wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, a serious crime carrying a sentence of up to 25 years imprisonment.

They're now scouring the caves on the Northern Beaches' headland as they hunt for the alleged attacker, who is described as having dreadlocks and possibly being with a dingo.

The 48-year-old victim was found in his car just before 5pm on Friday on Coonaga Road at Avalon Beach, police say.

"He had a spear protruding from his chest and he was obviously in agony," Detective Chief Inspector Michael Boutouridis told reporters on Saturday.

"He was taken to North Shore Hospital where it was established that the spear narrowly missed his heart, he's a very lucky man to be alive, we would have otherwise been talking about a murder."

Ambulance paramedics, a Careflight crew and police treat a man sitting in a car with a speargun spear in his chest. Picture: Sebastien Dekker
Ambulance paramedics, a Careflight crew and police treat a man sitting in a car with a speargun spear in his chest. Picture: Sebastien Dekker

Chief Inspector Boutouridis said the man had been shot at close range outside a North Avalon Road home "several hundred metres away".

He described what happened next as an "incredible escape".

"The attack continued, allegedly, after the spear attack with a knife or something - a sharp weapon," he said.

"The injured man was able to get into his own car and drive away and hold the spear and stem any bleeding."

A man with a spear from a speargun protruding from his chest is loaded aboard an ambulance at Avalon. Picture: Sebastien Dekker
A man with a spear from a speargun protruding from his chest is loaded aboard an ambulance at Avalon. Picture: Sebastien Dekker

The man's alleged attacker has been described by police as an "unkempt" man of caucasian appearance, 190cm tall, 35 years old with a slim build and dreadlocks. He was last seen wearing a blue jumper and dark jeans and is often accompanied by a dog that has been described as a dingo, Chief Inspector Boutouridis said.

"The latest is that we know in the past he has been sleeping rough, he's experienced in sleeping in cars and even in the caves on the Northern Beaches headland," he said.

"Our search is directed in that area."

Ambulance paramedics, a Careflight crew and police treat a man sitting in a car in Coonanga Rd, Avalon, with a speargun spear in his chest. Picture: Sebastien Dekker
Ambulance paramedics, a Careflight crew and police treat a man sitting in a car in Coonanga Rd, Avalon, with a speargun spear in his chest. Picture: Sebastien Dekker

Chief Inspector Boutouridis has urged the public not to approach the man, but to call triple-0 if he's spotted.

"It wasn't a random attack, the two men knew each other … this was a meeting that obviously went wrong," he said.

"I have no information right now to suggest that he intends to harm anyone else, which I draw a little comfort from and so should the community … one would know the consequences when you fire a speargun at another person at a range of two metres."

The victim of the attack underwent surgery overnight but is expected to be released from hospital later today.

"He's shaken up, but he's talking, he's conscious, he's very lucky to be alive - like I said this could have ended up as a murder," Chief Inspector Boutouridis said.