A surfer was attacked and killed by a shark off the west coast of Australia Saturday. The surfer was reported dead at the scene from massive injuries. According to ABC News, one witness, fellow surfer, Ryan Scanlon, saw the body and told reporters that the victim lost his left arm and flesh from his right leg.
The identity of the 35-year-old surfer is known, but has not been released to the public. Police have been working to notify the victim’s family. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, one witness saw the shark “bounce off the board” of one surfer before attacking the male victim off a beach near Gracetown, Australia.
The San Francisco Chronicle stated that the city of Gracetown has now been the site of three fatal shark attacks on surfers in the past decade. Officials stated that the state Fisheries Department immediately closed beaches in the area as marine officers were being sent with shark catching gear to “deploy in the surrounding waters as soon as possible.”
While this is the first reported shark attack of the year in Australian waters that turned fatal, ABC News states that shark deaths are becoming more and more common in the area.They continued on to report that “after a spate of five fatalities off the west coast within 12 months scared tourists and locals alike, the Western Australia government last year approved a plan to kill sharks that venture too close to people in the water.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that while this may have been the first reported fatal shark attack of the year, there have been several shark attacks in Australian waters this year that did not end in death. While the type of shark involved in this fatal attack isn’t known, officials are guessing that it could have been the work of a great white, considering they are often responsible for fatalities off of the Australian west coast.
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