Shark alert at Port Kembla Beach
Beachgoers watch from the safety of the sand as lifesavers coerce a shark back out to sea
Sharks and blue bottles kept the Illawarra’s surf lifesavers on their toes on Sunday, causing at least two of the region’s beaches to close temporarily.
Swimmers at Port Kembla Beach were ushered to shore after a hammerhead shark was spotted about 2.30pm by the Bendigo Bank Aerial Patrol.
Lifesavers took to jet skis and inflatable rescue boats (IRBs) to drive the animal back to sea as beachgoers watched on from the safety of the sand.
The beach was reopened 30 minutes later after another sweep by the aerial patrol, however lifesavers on long boards continued to keep guard behind the waves.
Lifesavers were first put on high alert just after 10am as three large schools of bait fish were spotted off Port Kembla and Windang.
FOR half an hour on New Year’s Day the ocean at Bondi Beach was empty of swimmers.
Shark scare … beachgoers have evacuated the water at Bondi Beach
Thousands stood frozen on the sand and stared out to sea as helicopters and patrol boats scanned the coastline for a shark.
Bondi Beach … thousands got out of the water.
In waters just off the beach on Tuesday afternoon lifeguards doing routine surveillance thought they saw a ‘‘large shark’’, a Surf Life Saving NSW spokeswoman said.
At about 4.15pm the shark siren sounded and thousands scurried to the shore. The beach was packed as thousands made the most of the hot start to 2013 on the New Year’s Day public holiday.
Dramatic photographs and somewhat hysterical reactions were posted on Twitter. Zoe Pruckl, who was visiting from Calgary, tweeted: ‘‘Felt like I was on the set of Jaws today when a shark decided to come make an appearance at Bondi Beach’’.
Shark alarms are a normal part of Sydney summers so if the Bondi reaction was a touch madder than usual it was probably due to reports in recent days of a juvenile great white displaying Jaws-esque behaviour on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Lifeguards believe a 2.5 metre white shark returned to roam waters off Dee Why and Long Reef beaches after taking a chunk a lifeguard’s surfboard on Sunday. The shark had displayed unusual behaviour when, after ramming the surfer at Dee Why, it refused to budge as guards on patrol boats and jet skis tried to herd it out to sea.
If there was a shark a Bondi it got away quick enough to evade a twenty minute search by a Westpac helicopter.
The patrol turned up nothing and less than half an hour after the alarm swimmers were told they could get back in the water, a Surf Life Saving NSW spokeswoman said.
But few were chancing it. The bravest trod about in only the shallowest waters, while most stayed on the sand and continued staring out to sea, as if they might find something the helicopters missed