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Police officers on Clarkes Beach
Image: picture alliance/dpa

Fatal shark attack in Australia

September 9, 2014

An Australian swimmer has died after suffering a shark bite, believed to be from a great white. The death was the first blamed on a shark in Australia since April 3.


A man in his 50s was killed in front of his wife Tuesday while swimming in the Australian town of Byron Bay, a favored tourist location. He was spotted floating only 15 meters offshore with a serious bite out of his right leg, thought to be from a great white.

A doctor was already on the scene at Clarkes Beach, 500 miles (800 km) north of Sydney. Police have confirmed that attempts to revive the man after he was pulled ashore by other swimmers proved futile.

One of the swimmers, Mark Hickey, described watching the sea fill with blood as the shark "came back to him and had another go…when I realized I ran out and waded to the bank and grabbed him…but it was too late." Hickey also claimed that the shark was at least six feet (two meters) long.

a great white shark
Great white sharks can grow to be 21 feet (6.4 m) in lengthImage: picture-alliance/WILDLIFE

Soon after the attack, a great white shark was detected by helicopters as authorities endeavored to drive the animal back out to sea.

Fatal attacks on the rise

This is the latest fatal encounter after a 63-year-old woman was killed during her daily swim last April. Only her swimming cap and goggles were recovered. Two people died from shark bites in Australia during 2013, both in the space of a week in November.

Shark attacks in Australia are rare, at an average of fewer than two fatal attacks per year in recent decades. However, their frequency has increased in recent years as water sports become more popular. Byron Bay is particularly known to surfers and scuba divers.

es/msh (AP, AFP, dpa)

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