Man dies after Australia shark attack

Attack at popular tourist spots prompts authorities to close down the beach

A large shark was filmed near the beach within hours of a fatal attack that left a man dead at Byron Bay. A 50-year-old Australian man died after he was attacked by a shark while swimming just 20m off the beach. Video: Reuters


A man has died following a shark attack at one of Australia’s most popular tourist spots in New South Wales.

Officers and paramedics were called to Main Beach in Byron Bay after the man, believed to be in his 40s, was bitten on his right leg, police said in a statement.

He was seen floating in shallow water close to shore and dragged onto the beach, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. There have been about 170 fatal shark attacks in the past 100 years in Australia, according to researchers at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo.

Channel 9 television showed footage of an estimated 2-meter-long shark off the Byron Bay beach not long after today’s attack.

Byron Bay, a subtropical region almost 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of Sydney, combines numerous beaches with unspoilt hinterland and a vibrant artistic community, attracting tourists from Australia and around the world.

There are 165 shark species in Australian waters. Several, including the great white, tiger shark and bull shark, are dangerous to humans.

None are thought to target people and specialists say attacks occur when a shark confuses swimmers, surfers and divers with its usual prey.