A stunning encounter with a great white shark not only sent surfers fleeing the waters off Australia this week, but it managed to also serve as a test of a newly installed alarm system meant to guard against the predators.
Evans Head teenager Jye Grainger and his two brothers encountered the shark on Thursday, according to the Northern Star. Jye suffers from cystic fibrosis, but thanks to new drug treatments, he is now able to surf with both of his older brothers. While off the Main Beach in Evans Head, Jye was paddling out to meet them when the trio observed something none of them expected.
— OCEARCH (@OCEARCH) November 4, 2015
Roughly 100 meters from the boys, a large great white shark broke the surface, jumping into the air. Jye and his brothers assert that there is no doubt the shark was a great white, due to its coloration. They say that the shark was between three and four meters long, big enough to send them scrambling for shore.
The trio made it out of the water safely, and once there, they utilized a new shark alarm that was in the process of being installed. The alarm isn’t set to be commissioned until November 16, and according to Richmond Valley Mayor Ernie Bennett, it was triggered just moments after it had been fitted into place at the local surf club. Beachgoers were confused by the sound of the alarm, but Bennett noted that signs will be posted once the system is fully established, alerting the public that its sound indicates the presence of a great white shark.
— Piclogy (@Piclogy) November 5, 2015
In addition to the surf club, an alarm will be installed at the Marine Rescue base at Razorback Lookout. A shark alert button installed at the beach will connect beachgoers to a control room, to which sightings can be reported and screened in order to determine if they are genuine. Once a sighting has been reliably established, the control room staff will then contact the proper authorities and issue warnings.
The shark alarm system is just the latest development along Australia’s eastern coast, which has been plagued by fears regarding the local great white population for months. Calls for a shark cull have intensified amid several fatal and near-fatal attacks which took place over the course of the last year. Large great whites have repeatedly been spotted in the region, as the Inquisitr previously reported, at times moving unusually close to shore.
A male great white shark cuts the water’s surface with the tip of his upper caudal fin. pic.twitter.com/ZbxnJwXnqf
— George T. Probst (@GeorgeProbst) November 4, 2015
In January, beaches in Newcastle were closed for over a week by the presence of an unusually large white shark. In July, Evans Head was the site of an attack when 52-year-old surfer Craig Ison ran afoul of a great white. Ison’s incident was preceded by an unusual amount of shark activity, according to the ABC. He became the third person to experience a serious white shark attack in the region this year, just 100 meters from shore.
Q: Where do baby great white sharks hang out? A: Port Stephens, Australia >> https://t.co/L0vLkw41h1 pic.twitter.com/a0zYgfsWap
— Discovery (@Discovery) November 4, 2015
Locals have speculated that the great white shark that Jye and his brothers encountered was likely lured to the area by a large dead sea turtle, which washed ashore at Evans Head’s Airforce Beach. The carcass was removed following the boys’ sighting. The alarm system, meanwhile, has been contracted for five years by the Richmond Valley Council, meaning it will be in place for some time to guard against the presence of great white sharks.