Source AP ©

Girl being attacked by sea lion in Australian

A teenage-girl told how she was frightened being attacked by a sea lion in an incident off Australia's west coast.

Ella Murphy was being towed on a surfboard behind a speedboat off Lancelin, a town 125 kilometers (80 miles) north of the Western Australia state capital of Perth, on Friday when a sea lion leaped from the water, biting her face and neck.

Murphy said she initially thought the brown shape streaking beneath the surface was a shark.

"I saw it jump out of the water and just saw its teeth come toward my face," she told Nine Network television from her hospital bed.

"I just kind of thought: What's going to happen? What's next? Is it the end? ... I really didn't know," she said.

"It jumped out of the water and just grabbed hold of me and shook me and dragged me back under the water," she added.

She said the sea lion, estimated to weigh 200 kilograms (440 pounds), released her because she punched and kicked it.

Speedboat driver Chris Thomas said the sea lion resurfaced about 10 meters (yards) away from Murphy and would have attacked again if he had not maneuvered the boat between them and dragged the girl aboard.

Murphy lost three teeth in the attack and was treated for a deep tooth puncture wound in her neck.

Marine experts say such aggressive behavior is highly unusual for a sea lion.

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