A 24-year-old male surfer from Perth whose identity are being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin was killed early this morning (July 14), four kilometers south of Wedge Island, which is a holiday magnet located 160 kilometers north of Perth. The victim was surfing about 200 meters off an isolated beach at the time of the attack.
Shortly after the attack, a shark response unit had deployed patrol vessels in the area of the incident in an effort to locate and catch the shark responsible for the surfer's death. This is the fifth fatal shark attack in West Australia (WA) during the course of the last year. Reportedly, WA is the deadliest area for shark attacks in the world.
On March 31, 2012, 33-year-old diver Peter Kurmann was killed by a shark in waters near Busselton in the state's south west. A 32-year-old American, George Wainwright, died after being bitten by a great white shark on October 22, 2011 while diving off the tourist destination of Rottnest Island near Perth. Twelve days earlier, 64-year-old Bryn Martin disappeared while taking his daily swim at Perth's popular Cottesloe Beach. His swim trunks were later found, with experts saying that damage was consistent with a shark attack. On September 4, 2011, Kyle James Burden was attacked while body-boarding at Bunker Bay, about 300 kilometers south of Perth.
COMMENT: My suggestion to divers, snorkelers and swimmers worldwide is that if you're new to an area, consult with marine police, lifeguards, first responders or fire departments FIRST before you venture into ocean and sea water.
Specific questions to ask is whether sharks have been observed or whether there have been any shark attacks on people. Ask local officials what warning systems they use to alert swimmers to the presence of sharks or discourage them from entering the water when sharks are present.
Particularly in Australia and South Africa, it is also a good practice to ask whether electronic shark barriers are used to keep sharks away from people in the water.