Authorities forced swimmers out of the water Thursday at Australia's famous Bondi Beach after a large shark was spotted swimming near its south end. Lifeguards rode jet skis around the shark to try to lead the animal away from the Sydney shore. Once they were successful, they still closed the beach for the day, news.com.au reported. The shark was being tracked by helicopters as it swam further south.
The shark, which was first seen at about 3:30 p.m. local time, was thought to have been attracted to the area by a school of fish. One lifeguard said he didn't know what kind it was but added it was "as big as the jet ski" he was on. The lifeguards ordered everyone out of the ocean, but several surfers reportedly returned after about an hour of waiting.
Ramon Vilanova wasn't one of them. "There were many other surfers there, [but] I just didn't feel it was responsible to be out there after the alarm went off," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "It was pretty unlucky."
Don't want to add to the general shark hysteria but APPARENTLY THERE HAS BEEN A FREAKIN SHARK SIGHTED AT BONDI OH MY GOD
— Tim Elliott (@TimElliottSMH) August 13, 2015
Shark alarm at Bondi Beach Everyone out of the water ✌️ pic.twitter.com/LxZRVMdbKh
— Matt Vandenberg (@Spartan_MV) August 13, 2015
Shark at Bondi today #meanwhileinAustralia
— Natalie Binns (@hardtochase) August 13, 2015
Australia has been on high alert for the past month after a string of shark attacks off the coast. Former boxer Craig Ison was bitten twice by a great white shark near Evans Head on July 31, and he vowed never to surf again. Days before, a shark killed Tasmanian father Damian Johnson while he was diving for scallops near Lachland Island. In February, Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara died after being mauled by a great white shark near Shelley Beach.
The shark attacks have caused a group of surfers to demand a cull, where the government catches and kills sharks in a certain area, the Telegraph reported. Roughly 200 people attended a Monday night meeting to support a cull in New South Wales.
"We've got seven resident white sharks now. They've got names, apparently. The chopper pilot [is] doing the surveillance for us every day," local surfer Don Munro told the World Today. "What price do we put on a human life, you know? To sacrifice only a few, only a few of these animals would put a lot of people's minds at rest."