September 24, 2023

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Sydney beaches close after first fatal shark attack in 60 years

Sydney beaches close after first fatal shark attack in 60 years

A surfer holds his board in the water next to a sign declaring a shark sighting on Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia, November 24, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray // File Photo

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Several Sydney beaches were closed on Thursday after a swimmer was killed in a shark attack, the first such fatality on the city’s beaches in nearly 60 years.

Drum lines, used to bait the sharks, have been set up near the site of the attack while drones have been deployed while officials search whether the shark is still in the area.

A video posted online showed a shark attacking a person on Wednesday afternoon off Little Bay Beach, about 20 kilometers south of Australia’s largest city and near the entrance to Botany Bay. Police have not yet revealed the identity of the swimmer.

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“This was a complete shock to our community,” Dylan Parker, mayor of Randwick, which includes Little Bay, told Reuters. “Our shoreline is our backyard, and to have a tragic death under these horrific conditions is absolutely appalling.”

A charity ocean swim at a nearby beach that was scheduled to take place on Sunday has been canceled out of respect for the victim and her family. Organizers of the Murray Rose Malabar Magic Ocean Swim had considered postponing the swim until March, but said they decided to cancel it after consulting with the local council and rescue.

A spokesman for the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries said shark biologists believe that a white shark at least 3 meters long was most likely responsible for the attack. The data showed this was the first fatal shark attack in Sydney since 1963.

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Authorities ordered people to stay out of the water on a hot summer day as temperatures hovered close to 30°C (86°F).

“A few crazy surfers are still going out and taking risks but most of us are paying attention and staying out of the water until the sharks are gone. It’s a much more dangerous drive, quite frankly,” local resident Karen Romalis told Reuters. .

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(Reporting by Ringo Jose and Gil Gralow) Editing by Christian Schmolinger and Karishma Singh

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.