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Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach shut after city’s first fatal shark attack in almost 60 years

But beach closures did not prevent defiant beachgoers from returning to water

Namita Singh
Thursday 17 February 2022 09:43 GMT
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Sydney’s beach shut after first fatal shark in almost 60 years

Several beaches in Sydney, including the iconic Bondi beach, were closed on Thursday, a day after a swimmer was killed in a shark attack.

However, it did not prevent defiant beachgoers from returning to the water.

Authorities have set up drum lines as bait along the coast with drones, police boats, jet ski and a helicopter patrolling in search of the shark.

Emergency services were called to the beach in Little Bay around 4.30pm on Wednesday after human remains were found in the water. Authorities in New South Wales (NSW) state have not yet named the victim

Lifeguards patrolling near the shoreline told Yahoo News Australia that they ordered up to 40 people out of water in nearby Coogee Beach. “We’ve been telling people to get out,” a lifeguard said. “That’s all we can do at the moment.”

“I sort of figure that there’s a big shark in the water with me nearly every time I go out and we just live with them,” a Paddington resident said after surfing at Bondi Beach.

Located just 10 km north of Little Bay, Bondi is one of the city’s 13 iconic beaches that have been ordered shut by authorities after Sydney reported its first fatal shark attack since 1963.

It happened so fast that despite the helicopter being on the scene in under five minutes, they “did not sight the shark that was involved in the attack nor did they sight the victim”, Surf Life Saving NSW executive Steven Pearce told news.com.au. “There was absolutely nothing that could be done”.

People walk close to the site of a fatal shark attack off Little Bay Beach in Sydney on 17 February 2022, as authorities deployed baited lines to try to catch a giant great white shark (AFP via Getty Images)

A video that has emerged on the internet showed a man fighting for life as the water turns pink. “Someone got eaten by a shark,” a man can be heard saying in the video as he says that the shark was “a great white”.

“Unfortunately this person had suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of the attack and there was nothing paramedics could do when we arrived on the scene,” Inspector Lucky Phrachanh, from New South Wales (NSW) Ambulance.

There were several people swimming around the time of the attack.

A witness said he was fishing off rocks when he saw a man being dragged underwater by the shark.

“He was yelling at first, and then when he went down there were so many splashes,” the man told ABC News. “The shark won’t stop,” he said, adding that the attack lasted for just a few seconds. “It was terrible. I am shaking … I keep vomiting. It’s very, very upsetting.”

Another witness said the attack “looked like a car had landed in the water”.

Shark biologists working with New South Wales Department of Primary Industries believe a white shark, at least 3m in length was responsible for the attack, a spokesperson for the department said.

“This has been a complete shock for our community,” said Dylan Parker, the mayor of Randwick Council, which includes Little Bay. “Our coastline is our back yard and to have a tragic death under such horrifying circumstances is completely shocking.”

Additional reporting by agencies

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