Underwatertimes.com News Service - June 18, 2006 19:08 EST

A surfer in Brazil has died after a shark bit him in the left thigh.

Humberto Pessoa Batista, 27, was with about 30 other surfers about 50ft from a beach in the city of Olinda when he was attacked, firefighters told the Agencia Estado news wire service.

Olinda is just north of the much larger city of Recife, about 1,300 miles northeast of Sao Paulo.

While surfing has traditionally been banned in the area because of the large concentrations of sharks, authorities lifted the restriction this year because few had been seen.

Rescue workers tried to take Batista to a hospital, but the shark bite ruptured his femoral artery and he died of a haemorrhage, Agencia Estado reported.

The surfer's death is the 18th since 1992 caused by shark attacks in the area.

The sharks are attracted to waters off Recife by a large coral reef, where they go to feed.