A second shark attack in two days proved fatal for a surfer off of Shelly Beach in Ballina, Australia, around 10 a.m. Monday morning, local time. Fellow surfers who helped the mortally wounded man in his 20s ashore say they saw the shadow of a great white shark swimming away from the scene of the tragedy.
The witnesses estimated that the killer shark was between 11 and 13 feet long. The time of the attack would have been about 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Authorities in the state of New South Wales, on the southeastern coast of Australia, immediately closed area beaches in the region. Shelly Beach is located just 12 miles south of the scene of another shark attack that took place Sunday in New South Wales.
In the Sunday shark attack, 35-year-old Jabez Reitman was seated on a surfboard floating about 200 feet off the coast of Byron Bay when a shark struck him, taking a bite out of the experienced surfer’s back, causing lacerations and puncture wounds on Reitman’s back and buttocks.
That shark attack victim is currently in a hospital where he is expected to make a full recovery.
Monday morning’s shark attack victim was not as lucky, sadly. According to witnesses, he lost large portions of both legs in the attack. Though paramedics were on the scene and attempted to treat the man, whose name has not yet been released, his wounds were too severe and the surfer was pronounced dead on the beach.
The victim’s next of kin had not yet been informed, which is why his name was being withheld as of Monday afternoon in New South Wales.
“This is obviously a very serious incident and we would ask that the public follow the directions of emergency service workers and lifeguards by remaining clear of the water,” said New South Wales Life Saving Manager Andy Kent, as safety workers began scouring area waters for the deadly shark. “Our thoughts go out to the man’s family and friends, who will dealing with this tragedy.”
But officials said they did not believe that the fatal shark attack on Monday was related to the attack on Reitman the day before.
“It would most certainly not be the same shark,” said Southern Cross University Marine Biologist Aniel Buscher.
“There is still only one or two incidents a year and those statistics have remained the same for the past 20 years.”
Until Monday, the most recent fatal shark attack in Australia came last September when a swimmer was killed by shark off of Byron Bay.