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Beach Grit

Breaking: Shark Kills Teenage Surfer in WA

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Seventeen-year-old girl killed while surfing with her father… 

A teenage surfer has died after a shark attack in Esperance, seven hundred clicks south-east of Perth. The girl, who was surfing with her dad, is believed to’ve lost a leg in the hit. She was treated on site by ambulance officers and later taken to Esperance Hospital where she died from her injuries.

Her mother and two sisters were on the beach.

The attack occurred at Kelp Beds, east of Esperance.

As reported by The Australian,

Shark sightings are a regular occurrence off the Esperance coast. In October 2014, 23-year-old Sean Pollard had an arm and another hand bitten off by a shark while surfing at Wylie Bay near Esperance.

Local surfer Tilo Massenbauer said there hadn’t been many shark sightings lately. “There’s been the odd one, but nothing like there was a few years ago. It’s a little bit early (in the year).

“They’ve had more run-ins at Margaret River, where they’ve had a lot of salmon.”

He said the water had been murly lately from a lot of swell activity, and the sky had been overcast since Saturday.

“It’s been grey on grey, which just adds to the risk.”

Mr Massenbauer said the most common shark encounters were with juveniles about 3m in length.

“They are more agitated and bullish. They will charge you a few times. The big ones swim up to you and have a sniff and trail you, but it never feels as bad as the 3m ones.”

He also said the surfers in town were concerned for swimmers in the town’s wide open bay. “Swimmers and snorkellers are more vulnerable than us – at least we have a board between us and the shark.”

Mr Massenbauer’s most recent encounter was last year, when a 3.5m great white charged at him. He said the shark came at speed towards him then diverted 45 degrees when it got 3m away. He attributed this to the electronic deterrent device attached to his surfboard.

“There’s usually got to be reasons for sharks to come in close,” he added.

A local fishing website reported this month that salmon were being consistently caught at most Esperance beaches as well as “loads of small pink snapper”.aa

Last June, Doreen Collyer, 60, died after being attacked by a large great white as she scuba dived off the Perth coast.

In October, 2013 diver Greg Pickering was attacked by a shark about 180 kilometres east of Esperance.