09/04/2011 Kyle James Burden ( Australia ) *** Fatal ***

Shark Attack Related Incident News Archive for 2011 Shark Attacks and Related Incidents.

09/04/2011 Kyle James Burden ( Australia ) *** Fatal ***

Postby alb » Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:12 am

Bodyboarder killed by shark in Western Australia

Surfer killed by a shark at Bunker Bay on the tip of Cape Naturaliste at a popular surf spot called The Farm.

A SHARK has attacked and killed a 21-year-old bodyboarder near a packed beach in the South-West.

The man was bodyboarding with friends when he was taken by the shark at 1pm on Sunday at a popular surfing spot, called Boneyards, near Bunker Bay about 3.5 hours south of Perth.

Dunsborough Police Sergeant Craig Anderson said the Wilyabrup man was deceased before he was pulled from the water by a friend and another member of the group he was bodysurfing with.

"Out of nowhere it would appear the young fellow has been taken by a shark, nobody actually saw the shark itself, but they retrieved the young man's body in the water amongst some blood," Sgt Anderson said.

"This morning you could have described it as perfect shark conditions, you know dark and gloomy water, overcast skies, light rain falling, there was whale action earlier in the morning in the bay, and there were seals about," he said.

This is the first first incident of its kind in the Bunker Bay area.

The beach has been closed and is expected to remain closed until at least midnight Monday.

Meanwhile, a vessel is sweeping the bay in search of the shark, which has yet to be spotted or identified, but it is believed to be a great white.

The 21-year-old moved to WA about five years ago from the Eastern States and police are currently notifying the man's next of kin.

Sgt Anderson said the man was unmarried but had a girlfriend who recently returned overseas.

"You've got to take your hat off to the young fellow who was surfing with him and his mate for bringing (the victim) ashore, the nature of his injuries was significant, its not something that even volunteer rescuers or emergency services like to see, even my own staff, so its just something you have to deal with as a police officer and do the job you have to do," he said.

Bunkers Beach Cafe manager Hamish McLeay said the water was full of people when the shark attack happened.

"There was another 20 people in the water as well," Mr McLeay said.

"There is a big seal colony around the corner, he might have been mistaken for one of them, it's been known to happen."

Mr McLeay said he had managed the cafe for six years but that this was the first major shark attack he was aware of in the area.

A Yallingup woman, who did not want to be named, was at the beach with her husband and two young girls when the attack happened.

She said two men ran along the beach yelling at people to get out of the water.

"We were just going for a walk along the beach for Father's Day and two young blokes came running up to us trying to get people out," she said.

"There were mainly surfers in the water and everyone cleared out pretty quickly. People were just in panic.

"They pulled him out of the water and there was a lot of blood on the beach. There was just no hope, he was cut in half.

"We go swimming here all the time and my husband surfs so it's lucky he didn't go out today. It's very sad for this young bloke."

In the moments after the attack, desperate onlookers ran to a nearby home to phone for police and ambulance.

The area is a popular surfing and fishing spot known for dangerous rips and sharks.

WA shark expert Hugh Edwards, who is currently working on his next book Shark, told PerthNow that the victim was most likely attacked by a Great White Shark.

"Attacks are comparatively rare but in the last 12 months there's been one at Coogee, and two fatals in Gracetown," he said.

He said the nationwide yearly average was around two fatals and half a dozen non-fatal attacks, but in 2010 there were around 10 attacks.

Mr Edwards said there were a number of reasons attacks were becoming more common.

"It's a combination of a few things, people have stopped catching Great White Sharks, there are more seals in the area and more humans in the water," he said.

"Young people's access to transport has improved... because there's a lot more access to beaches and boats on the water we're coming into contact with sharks more often."

Locals say a shark was spotted nearby at Rocky Point this morning.

Shire of Busselton president Ian Stubbs said he had lived in the area for 21-years and this was the first shark attack that he was aware of near Cape Naturaliste.

Mr Stubbs described the young man’s death as “tragic.”

“I have not had a briefing on it yet,” Mr Stubbs said.

“I am sure that the (shire) rangers will contact me and I will discuss it with them.

“This is I guess nature at work, it’s a very popular surfing area.

"It is not an area where people just go to swim because the access is not straight forward…I guess the word is remote.”

The attack happened almost a year after 31-year-old Nicholas Edwards was killed by a shark in Gracetown - about an hour's drive from Bunker Bay.

The young dad was surfing South Point near Gracetown, about 270km south of Perth, when he was attacked by a shark in August. Despite desperate efforts by fellow surfers and ambulance officers to keep him alive, he died after suffering a severe bite to his right leg.

The cast and crew from Drift were filming at the same beach yesterday.

"The production of DRIFT extends its deepest sympathies and concern to the family and friends of the victim," a spokeswoman said.

"DRIFT can confirm the production had been filming recently in the vicinity, but the production has extensive marine safety procedures in place to ensure the safety of the cast and crew when in the water.

This is the final week of filming in the region and the cast and crew’s thoughts will be with all the people touched by this tragedy during this difficult time."

http://sharkyear.com/2011/bodyboarder-k ... ralia.html
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Re: 09/04/2011 Kyle James Burden ( Australia ) *** Fatal **

Postby alb » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:55 pm

Shark attack victim died quickly, say police

Friends of shark attack victim Kyle Burden gather at Boneyards Beach, near Dunsborough on the southwest coast of Western Australia, where the attack occurred. Picture: Marie Nirme Source: The Australian

THE mother of surfer Kyle James Burden had a simple question for the policeman who helped recover her son's body from the lonely West Australian beach where a shark took him.

"She just wanted to know very quickly if Kyle had suffered . . . in terms of the injuries to the young fella," Sergeant Craig Anderson said yesterday.

The officer from Dunsborough, on the southwest coast of Western Australia, said "she took some peace from the fact we could say (because of) the nature of his injuries he obviously didn't suffer for too long".

Mr Burden's friends yesterday laid flowers and gazed out to sea as they paid tribute to the "happy and easy-going" 21-year-old who was taken at Boneyards surf break near Margaret River on Sunday.

He was bitten on the lower half of the body while bodyboarding with a friend and several other surfers. His friend and another surfer brought him to the beach after the attack but the young man was already dead.

Helicopters and powerboats patrolled the coast yesterday looking for the maneater, as debate raged about whether to kill the shark.

The type of shark responsible for the attack is not yet known. Some people who were canoeing nearby though they saw a bronze whaler, but other locals and shark experts think it was most likely a white pointer.

Some surfers said a white pointer was known to surface regularly in the area.

"The gossip is that it's an old female pointer looking for easy prey," one local, Gary, told ABC radio.

Felipe Guiss, who worked with Mr Burden as a kitchen hand at a local brewery last summer, said Mr Burden had only started surfing a few years ago and loved life in the southwest of WA, where he had moved from Sydney.

"He loved Margaret River, and the simple things in life," Mr Guiss said. "He liked it much better than Sydney. He was always happy and easy-going."

Ed, another friend of Mr Burden, who did not want to give his surname, said Mr Burden would have supported calls by Busselton Shire president Ian Stubbs and others for the shark to be hunted down and killed.

"I can actually recall him saying these bigger sharks are a threat to our community and he would back (them being killed)," Ed said.

Great whites are a protected species and it is illegal to kill them. Police and the Fisheries Department said they would chase the shark out to sea if they found it.

The department's shark specialist, Rory McCauley, played down suggestions an ageing female shark lived in the area and may have been responsible. "There's no evidence there's actually residential white sharks in any part of the Australian range," Mr McCauley said. "It's more likely the shark, if it was a white shark, was transient."

Sergeant Anderson again praised Mr Burden's friend -- whose name has not been released -- for helping him out of the water.

"He was obviously visibly shaken and in shock with what had happened," he said.

"To come for a surf with your mate in the same car together and have to leave with somebody else in tragic circumstances is pretty hard to take." At the beach near Cape Naturaliste, close to where the attack occurred, Mr Burden's friends planted a surfboard in the sand on which they pasted messages and photos of him, while two surfers defied a beach closure and rode the peeling waves alone.

"We'll miss you, brother. Show (deceased former world surfing champion) Andy Irons how it's done," wrote one friend.

Mr Burden's mother last night arrived in the nearby town of Dunsborough 255km south of Perth, after flying in from the Gold Coast.

She was expected to visit the beach today.

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Re: 09/04/2011 Kyle James Burden ( Australia ) *** Fatal **

Postby alb » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:55 pm

Mum remembers Kyle, the son she lost to a shark attack

Sharon Burden remembers her 21-year-old son Kyle who died in a shark attack in 2011

When Sharon Burden's eyes drifted to the airport TV, she felt a stab of grief as her son's story flashed on to the screen. Nine hours earlier, Gold Coast police had told her that her only child, Kyle James Burden, 21, had been killed by a great white shark while body-boarding the pristine breaks of WA's Bunker Bay.

Alone and in a public place, Sharon stifled her reaction. Kyle's death had made the news headlines before she had even had a chance to say goodbye. To this day, she can't read a scrolling news feed that snakes across the bottom of television screens.

"In the airport it was on the news and that's a horrifying thing," she says. "But I knew it would be on the news because shark attacks always are. Seeing that vision was difficult because I felt this need to get to him."

As the plane took off from Gold Coast airport to Sydney so Sharon could see family en route to Perth, the G-force pushed her body back into her seat and she started to sob. It was one of Kyle's favourite feelings when he was young and Sharon suddenly realised she would never again share that moment with him.

"That was one of those really poignant moments where it was full force, knowing I would never do that with him again," she says.

It was the most difficult flight of her life, only made bearable by the extraordinary kindness of a man named Hugo sitting next to her.

"I started to sob and Hugo leaned over and said, 'What's wrong?', and I told him," she says.

"He was just the most amazing man because most people would probably either not want talk to you or change the conversation but he just said, 'Tell me about your son', so the whole trip down he just listened."

She is still brought to tears by that very human moment.

Sharon immediately started to realise how different life would be for her after Kyle's loss.

In the two years since his death, Sharon has charted new waters and gradually learnt to live with a new reality of being a mother of a deceased child, whose fate will forever be linked to WA's ocean.

She is also now part of an exclusive but growing group of people in WA who have lost a loved one to a shark attack.

With another summer, every shark sighting, attack and death is back in the news. But few people who lose a loved one to a shark attack get a choice about how that death is handled in such a public way. And, like most things in the public sphere, such tragedies often come with critics, ignorance and hurtful comments.

Kyle was about 50m off the beach at

a known surfing break when he was attacked. It was Sunday afternoon, September 4, 2011, and he was in the water, along with a number of surfers, doing what thousands do around Australia on any given day. After the attack, two surfers pulled Kyle to shore, which earned them each a national bravery award.

Sharon gets frustrated when people attribute the shark attack to all sorts of theories - blaming Kyle because "he was dressed like a seal", or "surfing somewhere unsafe", or out in the water at the "wrong time of day".

"People need to rethink before they have the 'blame the victim' reaction, without knowing any of the facts about what happened," she says.

"Comments and speculation like this are so unhelpful, and just add further pain to those going through the loss. As a psychologist I understand the phenomenon, but as a mother it made me so frustrated."

For Kyle's girlfriend at the time, Jess Mooney, dealing with the shocked reaction of others taught her to change the subject.

"I don't think they believed me but I would say, 'I'm not joking about this'. I didn't get angry, I just didn't want to talk about it," she remembers.

"I would get upset when people wanted to know too many details about the event. I would rather people just talked about Kyle."

Reporters especially wanted to talk in detail about Kyle and, as a sports psychologist, Sharon knew to expect a media scrum at Bunker Bay the day after Kyle's death.

"For me the level wasn't that intrusive but we were also very fortunate that we had a wonderful support team around us from the Dunsborough Police, the businesses at Bunker Bay and all the locals who were so respectful and helpful," she says.

"I saw it as an opportunity to thank those involved and help Kyle have a voice and I hope in some small way we also reinforced that message to respect the ocean and all its creatures in it."

But she still felt violated when some media outlets grabbed photos off Facebook or positioned a photo of Kyle directly above a picture of a great white with its jaws gaping in a Queensland story about a bounty hunter.

"The Jaws phenomenon has meant that shark-attack victims and their families often

have to deal with insensitive use of images," Sharon says. "If you have spent a lot of time trying not to think about what it must be like in those final moments, the last thing you want

to have to deal with, potentially anytime you turn the television on, are those images. It's

quite insensitive.

"A photo of Kyle popped up that I know wasn't released to the media and I know it came off a private Facebook page. That was confronting. We wouldn't have released it because it was a private moment with another family member."

As the thunder barks loudly on an unusually humid spring day, Sharon sits at her outdoor fold-up table at her Mandurah home, reflecting on the past two years.

Kyle's favourite black cat Pablo dozes on the table while Sharon measures the toll the constant reminders have taken on her life.

There's news reports, legal affairs for Kyle's estate, returning to work and a daily search for strength to carry on in a nation where sharks are a part of everyday life. It all took a toll.

"Once the raw emotional part of the journey comes to an end, some of the hardest transitions are still to follow. I think that's often the part of a tragedy that we don't hear about or think about,'' Sharon says.

"Trying to return to the workplace was disastrous. I found it almost impossible to be the person I needed to be in a professional setting, even with my training in psychology.

"On top of that Kyle died intestate (without a will), and that created contested legal issues that have only just been resolved.

"In the end I coped by deciding to sacrifice my financial position in order to allow myself the time I needed to learn to live without Kyle in my life, and to accept that the future that I had envisaged for myself - including sharing the joys of being a parent and grandparent in my son's life - was now gone forever."

The first step forward was to move to WA, which Sharon had been already planning on doing to be closer to Kyle before he died. The pair had visited Bunker Bay on their travels around Australia when Kyle was young.

For a precious few years the mother-son duo hit the road together where Sharon taught him the value of measured risk while living life to the full.

"Because we lost him so early, there was some comfort that he had travelled so much and he had so many adventures in that time," she says.

"We always had these deep conversations. The philosophy being, don't wait until you have children and get married to do what you want to do. Make sure you plan ahead and make sure that what you're doing now is something you're passionate about and enjoy."

True to his youthful years and his mother's philosophy, Kyle lived much of his life in the moment. He was fearless but not reckless and explored the world with a healthy curiosity.

It's a philosophy shared by the Rev John Hewitson who counsels families who have lost someone in tragic circumstances.

That can involve events such as fires, people lost on bushwalks or at sea and those attacked by a shark where the body has not been recovered. He is always awestruck by the profound courage of families who have chosen life after such tragedy - especially for parents who have lost a child in a risky situation.

"It is an incredible, terrible and courageous decision to choose loving and life again," Hewitson says. "In the case of a young person there is the shattered life not yet lived with so much promise and hope.

"The idea of not teaching someone to surf 'just in case' ultimately destroys life. So where there is a situation where the parents have nurtured and encouraged that skill of surfing means there was an affirmation of life."

He understands that some people want to seek revenge out of pain and a desire to prevent such tragedies or to ensure others don't have to suffer the same terrible fate. He encourages families and loved ones to acknowledge the passion that drew the person to that environment and the risk it involved.

"That is the environment of the animals, too." Hewitson says. "It's not a matter of revenge. It's about how can we find ways to more effectively share that environment that doesn't destroy the other or destroy ourselves."

Kyle understood that deep respect for nature and its wild animals. The last picture of him was taken a week before he died, showing him looking relaxed, sporting a comfortable beard and wearing a Sea Shepherd jersey.

"Kyle was also very rational and a big believer in scientific fact," Sharon says. "He was always quoting titbits of factual trivia, and so I think that's why those of us who knew Kyle believe that he would be the first to advocate for conservation and thoughtful action."

Fear and respect for this mysterious creature of the sea occupies the psyche of almost every human who chooses to enter the waters off our magnificent coast.

To this day, Sharon still doesn't believe in killing sharks - not even the shark that killed Kyle.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and for me we need to allow the scientists to develop the technologies that allow us to be safe in the water but don't hurt other marine life," she says.

"We have to be hopeful that they are making those decisions about how to deal with imminent threats based on science and not sensationalism."

She says we have to make a decision about whether we "kill the shark just so we can go back in the water today". "I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that," she says. "But we are hard-wired to fear sharks. We need to find the balance between reporting for safety and public information and sensationalism that just drives unnecessary fear."

Statistically, the average West Australian has more chance of dying in a car accident than dying from a shark attack.

In the past 220 years since recording began, WA has experienced 90 shark attacks, 19 of which were fatal, with the last in July 2012 at Wedge Island. In the same time frame, WA experienced 3345 deaths in car accidents.

According to the Australian Shark Attack File at Taronga Zoo there is a one in 3300 chance of drowning in Australian waters and a one in 292,000 chance of being killed by a shark.

What strikes fear into the hearts of many West Australians and why the media now reports every sighting, attack and injury is because 14 of those fatal attacks occurred in the past 20 years.

Successive WA governments have invested millions into preventing shark attacks with a tagging program, a proposed shark net at Geographe Bay and ongoing research through the Department of Fisheries. A total of $20 million of State Government funds has been committed over four years to 2015-16 for shark-hazard mitigation strategies.

Surf Lifesaving WA tweets almost daily when a shark is spotted and also alerts Twitter followers to any tagged shark coming close to a beacon.

It's been two years now since Kyle died, and life is slowly moving on. For Jess Mooney,

the first year of grief was by far the hardest because the young couple had just started to build a life together in Margaret River.

But seeing Sharon reminds Jess of Kyle and the two women have developed a strong relationship and are still in touch.

"It just took time and I started to open up a bit and it was really nice when we could openly talk about Kyle," Jess says.

"Since then I have moved on and I am in a new relationship, which proves there is light at the end of the tunnel.

"It's always in the back of my mind when I go in the water and it does scare me, but I like to go out with friends and I try not to let it beat me."

Sharon Burden, meanwhile, plans to spend the rest of her life protecting a tiny patch of the world at Bunker Bay in the place Kyle loved the most.

She also tends to the memorial that she worked with local artist Simon James to create - a sculpture erected at Bunker Bay in February. She has created a website, http://www.bunkersbodyboarder.com, all about the sculpture and the beach rehabilitation work.

"Kyle was a deep thinker from a young age and he wanted to visit every war memorial in every country town and he would stand there for a moment and pay his respects," she recalls.

"So I had the idea to build a memorial to hopefully make people stop for a moment and think about their own lives, not for Kyle so much, but to take a moment and stop at this amazing place and not take it for granted."

Sharon feels a strong connection to Kyle and the community at Bunker Bay. Sitting in the sand at the bay, her arms wrapped around her knees, Sharon watches the body boarders and surfers catching their waves.

"It's where I feel most at peace," she says. "Even right from the beginning, it always felt like a comforting place. I feel very connected to it and probably always will be."

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