Surfer dies near popular Australian beach after an “unprecedented” shark attack


A surfer was killed by a shark on the Australian east coast on Tuesday, police said. The man, in his 50s, was surfing outside Forster, 137 miles north of Sydney, when he was attacked late that morning, a police statement said.

Onlookers pulled the man out of the water and suffered serious injuries to his upper right thigh, police said.

“Despite the best efforts of paramedics and bystanders on site, the man could not be revived.” NSW Ambulance said in a tweet.

Forster beaches were closed.

Police said they are working with government agencies to identify the shark species.

Brian Wilcox, president of Surf Life Saving’s Lower North Shore subsidiary, said a drone search found two sharks in the area after the attack.

“It’s pretty unprecedented. I don’t remember ever having a shark attack in this area,” Wilcox told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“We’re going to be doing drone missions in the Tuncurry Beach area for the next few days to make sure there aren’t any sharks hanging around,” added Wilcox, referring to the beach where the surfer was attacked.

The man’s name was not published.

It marked the first fatal shark attack in Australia since November when a 55-year-old surfer was killed near the northwest town of Broome.

Eight people were killed in shark attacks last year Australia’s highest since 1929when nine died. The introduction of shark nets on popular beaches in the 1930s resulted in a significant decrease in fatal attacks.

There were 18 unprovoked shark attacks in Australia last year, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History, which tracks shark attacks worldwide.

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