A 24-year-old surfer was killed today after a violent encounter with a great white shark of the coast of Australia. Witnesses detailed the gruesome scene, saying that “half a torso” was all that remained of the victim.
According to the AFP, the young man was surfing off Australia’s west coast when he was attacked by the shark. It is the fifth shark related death in the region this year.
A friend of the victim, who was on a jet-ski at the time of the attack, told ABC:
“There was just blood everywhere and a massive, massive (great) white shark circling the body. I reached to grab the body and the shark came at me on the jet-ski and tried to knock me off. I did another loop and when I came back to the body the shark took it. I just thought about his family and if he had kids. I just wanted to get him to shore. I gave it everything I had.”
The Australian reports that officials are now hunting for the shark.
Shark Response Unit spokesman Tony Cappelluti said:
“When last seen the shark was heading offshore, but we have placed baited lines in the water near the attack site, in an attempt to catch the shark should it return to the location or pose a threat in the area.”
Shark attacks are relatively common off the coast of Australia but fatal attacks are rare. According to the AFP, Australia sees an average of 15 attacks a year but only one death. This year, however, Australia has seen five shark related deaths. Perth was dubbed the deadliest place in the world for shark attacks by Western Australia Fisheries senior shark research scientist Rory McAuley.