Man attacked by shark at Byron Bay
A man has died following a shark attack at Byron Bay on the New South Wales far north coast, paramedics say.
A NSW Ambulance spokeswoman said the man died on Clarkes Beach just after 11am.
Witnesses called triple-0 at 10.42am on Tuesday saying a man had been bitten by a shark at the southern end of the beach, off Lawson Street.
The NSW Ambulance spokeswoman said a doctor performed CPR on the man, who had a “very serious bite” on his leg, but he could not be saved.
He was pronounced dead on the beach.
Police said the man was in the water when “he was bitten on the right leg by what is believed to be a shark”.
Bystanders spotted the man in the water, and dragged him to the beach. It is understood that part of the man’s leg was missing, and was found floating in the surf.
One witness said he saw the victim, whom he described as a surfer, get pulled out of the water.
The witness, who did not want to be identified, said there was no shark alarm following the attack. He said there were “still heaps of surfers in the water down near The Wreck [a surf spot at Byron Bay] and there wasn’t any shark alarms or anything”.
A shark, estimated to be two metres long, was spotted near the site where the man died not long after the attack.
Police said the man, aged in his 50s and from Byron Bay, had been formally identified by a family member.
It is understood the man may have been attempting to swim from The Pass to Byron Bay’s Main Beach when he was attacked.
Syl Reid, from the Winter Whales swimming club in Byron Bay, said many people did that swim each day.
“There are probably 20 to 30 people out there most days, and on weekends a bit more. It’s popular. Lots of people swim out and go snorkelling on the little reefs, too,” he said.
Mr Reid, who has been swimming in Byron Bay for more than 60 years, estimated the swim from The Pass to Main Beach was about 900 metres.
Surf Life Saving NSW spokeswoman Donna Wishart said Byron Bay beaches were closed from Belongil to Tallows Beach, south of Cape Byron.
“We’ve got our life guard service on its way and our lifeguard supervisor is on his way and they’ll be instituting a full beach closure, that whole headland area,” she said.
Ms Wishart said the beach was not supervised at the time of the attack, as it occurred about a week before the lifeguards’ seasonal duties began.
“We’re going to put guard on for today and tomorrow because it’s normal operating procedure to close the beach for at least 24 hours,” she said on Tuesday.
“We’ll be doing some surveillance work and we’ll monitor the waterways to determine whether there’s an ongoing hazard.”
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