A 17-year-old boy has died after being attacked by a shark while spearfishing on Western Australia’s south coast.
Jay Muscat was bitten on the leg by a shark, thought to be a great white up to five-metres long, at Cheynes Beach, near Albany.
Police received a call from a member of the public at 12:20pm (AWST) to report they had found a body in the water.
When officers arrived at the beach, about 60 kilometres east of Albany, they confirmed the teen was dead.
Police said the body appeared to have an injury consistent with a shark bite.
The ABC has been told a fisherman brought the body to shore on a boat.
A report is being prepared for the coroner. The fatal shark attack is the eighth in WA in the past five years.
Spear gun ‘fired at shark’ during attack
Department of Fisheries spokesman Rick Fletcher said the shark may be injured as a spear was fired at it during the attack.
“They had been spearfishing and it’s our understanding they had already captured some fish,” he said.
“It appears the shark swam past one diver and bit the other on the leg.”
Drum lines have been deployed in the area to catch the shark.
Beaches were closed on Monday afternoon and were likely to remain closed on Tuesday as the search continued.
“It’s possible the shark was actually injured in the attack therefore we’ll do patrols along the beaches as well,” Dr Fletcher said.
Shark ‘likely to be killed’ if caught
Dr Fletcher said one inflatable and one rigid-hull vessel had been deployed to track the shark and deploy drum lines.
He could not confirm whether a shark sighting in that area had been reported to the department earlier on Monday.
Fatal shark attacks in WA since 2000
Spearfisher Jay Muscat: Cheynes Beach December 29, 2014
Surfer Chris Boyd: Gracetown November 23, 2013
Surfer Ben Linden: Wedge Island, July 14, 2012
Diver Peter Kurmann: Geographe Bay, March 31, 2012
Diver George Wainwright: Rottnest Island, Oct 22, 2011
Swimmer Bryn Martin: Cottesloe Beach, Oct 10, 2011
Surfer Kyle Burden: Bunker Bay, Sept 4, 2011
Surfer Nick Edwards: Gracetown, Aug 17, 2010
Snorkeller Brian Guest: Port Kennedy, Dec 27, 2008
Snorkeller Geoffrey Brazier: Abrolhos Islands, Mar 19, 2005
Surfer Brad Smith: Gracetown, July 10, 2004
Swimmer Ken Crew: North Cottesloe, Nov 6, 2000
He added it was likely the shark would be killed.
“At this stage it’s highly likely that if we capture the shark that’s likely to have been involved in the incident it will be destroyed,” he said.
He described the incident as tragic and traumatic.
“Our sympathies go out to those particular families,” he said.
Fisheries has urged local people and holidaymakers to stay out of the water.
Children’s vacation swimming classes were being held about 250 metres from where the shark attack occurred, but had concluded shortly beforehand.
A spokesman for the Department of Education said the lessons would remain suspended until further notice.
ABC reporter Roxanne Taylor was at the beach about an hour before the suspected attack occurred.
“There was a massive pod of about 10 dolphins in the cove. The water was perfectly still, crystal clear,” she said.
Local surfers have talked about a shark swimming around people in the area in recent days.
Cheynes Beach has deep water and rocky outcrops, and is a popular camping and fishing destination.
In October this year, surfer Sean Pollard, 23, lost an arm and his other hand during an attack at Kelpids Beach at Wylie Bay near Esperance.
Two sharks were caught and killed after WA’s Department of Fisheries deployed drum lines off the beach after the incident.