An attack by a great white claimed the life of an Australian teen yesterday, though his friend survived after spearing the shark that he watched kill his friend.
Jay Muscat was spearfishing with his friend Matt Pullella off Three Stripes Beach, on the south coast of Western Australia, when he was attacked by a great white on Monday, according to ABC News. Fisheries official Rich Fletcher noted that the shark was likely lured by fish that the pair caught. The great white struck Muscat’s leg, and in a Facebook posting, Pullella noted that he was then able to injure the predator.
“I witnessed one of my best friends be attacked and killed by a shark. The shark hit me first then attacked Jay,” he recalled.
“The shark turned and came for me. I pushed the speargun down its throat and fired the gun! This is something no one should ever have to see. RIP Jay Muscat. I will never forget!”
Muscat was pulled into a passing boat, yet despite efforts to revive him, the 17-year-old died before reaching shore, according to USA Today.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 29, 2014
The great white is believed to be between 4 and 5 meters (13 and 16 feet) long, and authorities have launched efforts to hunt the shark down, though rough seas posed an initial challenge. The beach was closed, and baited drumlines were deployed in an effort to capture the shark, which will be destroyed if it is caught. Fletcher noted that it was often difficult to identify the shark responsible for fatal attacks.
“Obviously if we find a shark with a spear in it that’s clear cut but that’s probably unlikely,” he said.
— Carlos Gavina (@CGShark) December 30, 2014
Though sharks are common in Australian waters, fatal attacks are rare. In recent decades, the country has averaged fewer than two deadly attacks per year.
Recently, a white shark was detected repeatedly off Warnbro Beach by a government sponsored early-warning system. As the Inquisitr previously reported, authorities were spurred to deploy capture gear in an effort to kill the great white, eliciting an outcry from shark researchers. The Western Australian government’s policies for handling white shark attacks have drawn sharp criticism, with several scientists asserting that they are inspired by faulted “rogue shark” theories that inspired the movie Jaws.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) December 28, 2014
Two Fisheries vessels are monitoring drumlines off Three Stripes Beach and nearby Cheynes Beach in their continuing bid to catch and kill the great white shark responsible for Muscat’s death.
[Image via Dyer Island Cruises]