Australian authorities closed a lengthy stretch of beach Monday in the wake of a shark attack that left a man dead. The attack occurred near Brisbane at Shelly Beach, a popular tourist area, about 10 a.m., local time.
The victim was described as in his 20s, the Northern Star reported. Officials said the shark bit off both his legs. Three young surfers pulled him from the water before paramedics arrived and administered first aid, but the man died on the sand.
Andy Kent, manager of New South Wales Surf Life Saving, said a search is underway for the shark, described as 11 1/2 to 13 feet long, by surf lifesavers using inflatable rescue boats and jet skis.
"This is obviously a very serious incident and we would ask that the public follow the directions of emergency service workers," he said. The Courier and Mail reported all beachers from Lennox Head to Ballina South were closed.
The Sydney Morning Herald said it is believed the culprit was a great white shark
The attack was the second in as many days. A man surfing at Seven Mile Beach at Lennox Head Sunday was bitten on the back and survived.
Two fatal shark attacks were reported in Australia last month. The most recent was Dec. 30 at Cheynes Beach near Albany and involved a 17-year-old man who was spearfishing. He was bitten on the leg by a shark more than 16 feet long. Two weeks earlier, what was thought to be a whaler shark attacked an 18-year-old man who was spearfishing off Rudder Reef, northeast of Port Douglas. Two other fatal attacks occurred last year in September and April, Australian Geographic reported.
National Geographic reports there are more than 100 shark attacks worldwide annually, with a third to a half committed by great whites. The vast majority of the attacks are not fatal.