SYDNEY (AP) — A 60-year-old surfer was attacked and killed by a 3-meter (10-foot) great white shark off the coast of northern New South Wales state on Sunday, officials said.
The man received a bite to the back of his thigh and was brought to the shore by other surfers who had fought off the shark, a surf rescue group, Surf Life Saving NSW, said in a statement. The victim, from Tugun just over the state border in Queensland, received first aid on the shore but died on the beach.
“A shark biologist assessed photographs and confirmed a white shark was responsible for the fatal attack,” the state's Department of Primary Industries said.
New South Wales Ambulance Inspector Terence Savage said it was a “dreadful” situation for everyone involved.
“When you get a call to attend a shark attack, you never really know the full extent of the damage until you get on scene,” he said. “They did everything they could to try and save his life, but despite their best efforts, were unable to do so.”
Nearby beaches were cleared of swimmers and surfers and will remain closed for 24 hours.
Kingscliff resident Stuart Gonsal had just arrived at the beach ready for a surf, when he found out about the fatal attack.
“We came down and we hadn’t got in the water and police were immediately hauling people in,” Gonsal told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. “We found out there was a fatal shark attack on the south side of the rock wall. We were going to get in, we’re not going to now for sure.”
It was the third fatal shark attack in Australia this year.
In January, a diver was killed near Esperance off the Western Australia state coast. In April, a shark fatally mauled a 23-year-old wildlife worker on the Great Barrier Reef.