After a suspected shark attack at a famous beach in New South Wales, Australia, a surfer has died.
The man, reportedly in his 50s, had been surfing off Forster, located 137 miles north of Sydney. According to a police statement, the shark attack occurred late in the morning on Monday.
The attack marks Australia’s first confirmed fatal shark attack this year. However, it’s believed another shark killed a man in South Australia in January.
The tragic incident occurred at approximately 11:20 a.m. local time on Monday morning. Bystanders called emergency services to Tuncurry Beach in New South Wales and reported that the man suffered injuries from a suspected shark attack, according to the New South Wales Police.
Although onlookers pulled the man from the water, the injuries to his upper right thigh put him in critical condition. “Despite the best efforts of paramedics and bystanders at the scene, the man could not be resuscitated,” NSW Ambulance said in a tweet.
Local authorities closed the beaches in the area. Police said they were working with authorities to identify the shark. Lower North Coast Surf Life Saving branch president Brian Wilcox said drones had spotted two sharks in the area after the attack.
Australia Sees Its First Official Shark Attack Of 2021
“It’s pretty unprecedented. I can’t recall ever having a shark attack in this area,” Wilcox told Australian Broadcasting Corp. “We’ll… do drone missions for the next couple of days, within the Tuncurry Beach area, just to make sure there are no sharks hanging around,” Wilcox added, referring to the beach where the surfer was attacked.
Currently, the victim’s name has yet to be released. Shark scientists from the NSW Department of Primary Industry have also analyzed photos of the bite and determined a shark about 4.5m long is likely responsible for the attack.
In 2020, Australia saw eight fatalities due to shark attacks— its highest since 1929, when nine people died. The introduction of shark nets at beaches in the 1930s also contributed to a significant fall in fatal shark attacks.
Australia saw 18 unprovoked incidents last year, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History. The museum also tracks epsiodes involving sharks globally.
In January of this year, a Victorian man also went missing in waters off Port MacDonnell in South Australia. Later, someone found his torn wetsuit, but authorities didn’t record it as an official shark fatality. In November, a shark also killed a 55-year-old surfer near the northwest town of Broome.