Hunt continues for killer shark
July 11, 2004 - 2:11PM
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Authorities are hunting a five-metre shark which killed a 29-year-old surfer at a West Australian surfing beach.
The victim - Bradley Adrian Smith, of Shoalwater, 41km south of Perth - was surfing with a mate and three other people at Left Handers beach, south of Gracetown, near Margaret River, yesterday when he was knocked off his board and mauled by the shark.
Two teenagers who pulled Mr Smith from the water said the shark was "as big as a car".
Witnesses to the attack have told Sky News a man swam to shore and called 000 saying his mate had been attacked by a shark.
Authorities closed the beach after the attack and erected shark warning signs.
The attack at Left Handers beach - considered a relatively safe beach for junior surfers - is the second in WA in almost four years.
On November 6, 2000, just north of Perth's popular Cottesloe Beach, 49-year-old swimmer Ken Crew, on his regular morning swim, died after he lost his leg in a shark attack.
Fisheries officials were given permission to kill the shark, believed to have been a white pointer up to four metres in length, but they never found it.
In response to the 2000 attack, the WA government introduced daily summer aerial shark patrols.
Several other shark attacks have occurred along WA's coastline since then, but the fatality yesterday was the first since Mr Crew died.
Police and fisheries officers today boarded a search vessel to hunt for the shark which took the 29-year-old.
Fisheries officer Tony Cappelluti said if the shark was located, officers were authorised to kill it.
"If they're going to become a danger to the public, or if we believe they already have been responsible for a fatal or serious attack, then I think the community would expect us to try to alleviate that risk," he told ABC radio.
Local surfer Bart Mulder said yesterday's attack was distressing but it would not stop him surfing.
"We were going to go down to the beach for a surf and a couple of blokes came up and said 'Don't go down there - somebody's been bitten in half by a shark'," he told the ABC.
"It's the first shark fatality down in the south-west here. It's hard to say how I feel about it, but it won't stop me surfing."
Yesterday's attack occurred near the site of another surfing-related tragedy.
On September 27, 1996, nine people - four children and five adults - died when a 10-metre limestone cliff collapsed at Huzza's Beach, at Gracetown, as the group sheltered from the elements while watching an interschool surfing carnival.
A 10-year-old girl survived the incident, in which the cliff overhang, heavy from winter rain, collapsed.
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