A French diplomat working for the European Union has been rushed to Australia for medical treatment after being attacked by a shark in Papua New Guinea.

Thomas Viot, 30, was bitten on the leg by what he believed was a tiger shark as he kite-surfed near a reef off the capital, Port Moresby, 1,000 miles from the northern Australian city of Darwin.

Despite a wound that went down to the bone, causing a huge loss of blood, Mr Viot managed to kite-surf back to a beach where local people and friends rushed to his aid.

© AFP/ Getty Images
Survivor: Thomas Viot was bitten on the leg by what he believed was a tiger shark in Papua New Guinea
'I don't know how I managed it after the attack, but somehow I succeeded in riding back to the shore with my kite surf,' he said after being flown to the Queensland city of Brisbane.

Mr Viot said he was 'bleeding very badly' after the shark, which was at least 6.5ft long, lunged at him as he stood on his kiteboard.

Speaking from his hospital bed in Brisbane, Mr Viot said doctors had told him that the leg needs to have surgery.

An economist with the EU, Mr Viot has been working in Papua New Guinea for two and a half years.

'There are always plenty sharks around the reef, but I didn't see this particular one which attacked me,' he said.

© Alamy
Nightmare: Viot was bitten on the leg by what he believed was a tiger shark (library image of a tiger shark)
'It's not my first surfing accident - I got attacked by a stingray at the beginning of the year and I always go back'

It was a stingray which killed famed crocodile hunter Steve Irwin five years ago, when he was struck in the heart by a barb from one of the fish.

Once he has recovered from his deep wound, Mr Viot has vowed to return to his favourite pastime of kite surfing.

'It's the first time I've been attacked by a shark - and I hope it's the last,' he said.

There have been 49 shark attacks, with 25 fatalities among them, in Papua New Guinea since 1925.

Although tiger sharks are among the most dangerous of the species, attacks are relatively rare.

© Unknown
The attack: The diplomat was attacked near a reef off the capital, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea