VIA – COURIER MAIL AUSTRALIA
Bodyboarder killed by shark near Bunker Bay
Phil Hickey, Laura Tomlinson and Ashlee Mullany
September 04, 2011 3:59PM
A SHARK has attacked and killed a bodyboarder in his early 20s near a packed beach in the South-West.
The man was bodyboarding with five friends when was taken by the shark at 1.26pm today at a popular surfing spot called The Farm near Bunker Bay about 3.5 hours south of Perth.
Police media spokesman Graham Clifford said it was known if anyone else was injured in the attack.
“The deceased is a male in his early 20s,” Sgt Clifford said.
“We believe we know who he is.
PerthNow understands the man is originally from the eastern states.
“The person was bodyboarding at the time with a mate and also three of four to five others were in the water at the time but unfortunately he was taken from the lower part of the body.”
Bunkers Beach Cafe manager Hamish McLeay said the water was full of people when the shark attack happened.
“There was another 20 people in the water as well,” Mr McLeay said.
“There is a big seal colony around the corner, he might have been mistaken for one of them, it’s been known to happen.”
Mr McLeay said he had managed the café for six years but that this was the first major shark attack he was aware of in the area.
A Yallingup woman, who did not want to be named, was at the beach with her husband and two young girls when the attack happened.
She said two men ran along the beach yelling at people to get out of the water.
“We were just going for a walk along the beach for Father’s Day and two young blokes came running up to us trying to get people out,” she said.
“There were mainly surfers in the water and everyone cleared out pretty quickly. People were just in panic.
“They pulled him out of the water and there was a lot of blood on the beach. There was just no hope, he was cut in half.
“We go swimming here all the time and my husband surfs so it’s lucky he didn’t go out today. It’s very sad for this young bloke.”
In the moments after the attack, desperate onlookers ran to a nearby home to phone for police and ambulance.
PerthNow understands the cast and crew from Drift were filming at the same beach yesterday.
The area is a popular surfing and fishing spot known for dangerous rips and sharks.
WA shark expert Hugh Edwards, who is currently working on his next book Shark, told PerthNow that the victim was most likely attacked by a Great White Shark.
“Attacks are comparatively rare but in the last 12 months there’s been one at Coogee, and two fatals in Gracetown,” he said.
He said the nationwide yearly average was around two fatals and half a dozen non-fatal attacks, but in 2010 there were around 10 attacks.
Mr Edwards said there were a number of reasons attacks were becoming more common.
“It’s a combination of a few things, people have stopped catching Great White Sharks, there are more seals in the area and more humans in the water,” he said.
“Young people’s access to transport has improved… because there’s a lot more access to beaches and boats on the water we’re coming into contact with sharks more often.”
Locals say a shark was spotted nearby at Rocky Point this morning.
Shire of Busselton president Ian Stubbs said as of 3.15pm the beach where the fatal attack occurred had not yet been closed to his knowledge.
He said he had lived in the area for 21-years and this was the first shark attack that he was aware of near Cape Naturaliste.
Mr Stubbs described the young man’s death as “tragic.”
“I have not had a briefing on it yet,” Mr Stubbs said.
“I am sure that the (shire) rangers will contact me and I will discuss it with them.
“This is I guess nature at work, it’s a very popular surfing area.
“It is not and area where people just go to swim because the access is not straight forward…I guess the word is remote.”
The attack happened about an hour’s drive from Gracetown, where 31-year-old Nicholas Edwards was killed by a shark last year.
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