Shark kills surfer near Gold Coast, Australia

8 September 2020, 17:54

Greenmount Beach
Greenmount Beach. Picture: Getty
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A surfer has died in a shark attack off a beach protected by netting near the Australian city of Gold Coast, Queensland.

The rare attack at the popular Greenmount Beach in Coolangatta, roughly 28 kilometres (17 miles) from Gold Coast's tourist strip, marks the first time a shark victim has died in the area in over 60 years.

Paramedics confirmed the man, 46, was already dead when he was brought on to the beach by fellow surfers and lifeguards at around 5pm.

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He had suffered leg injuries, Queensland state ambulance service supervisor William Houghton said.

It is only the second time someone has died in a shark attack off of one of the state's 85 shark net and drum-line-protected beaches, the government said.

The safety measures have been in place since as early as 1962, while 24 of Gold Coast's beaches are now netted.

The last fatal shark attack off one of the city's beaches was in 1958.

One of the men who brought the victim to shore told 7NEWS Central Queensland: "We got him onto the sand. There was a lifeguard four-drive there ready as well and they had a stretcher so we put him on it but he was pretty much already gone by then."

He said the victim's wound ran from the groin area down to just below his knee.

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Shark nets run parallel to beaches and are suspended from floats, measuring 186 metres (610ft) long and six metres (20ft) deep, but the animals can swim under them or around their ends.

The emergency services did not immediately reveal any detail about the shark.

However, the protective measures have been found to do more harm than good, according to a senate inquiry in 2017.

A senate committee said the nets give beachgoers a false sense of security while in the sea and that they entangle and kill protected marine species, such as whales and turtles.

The last fatal shark attack in Australia took place north of Gold Coast near the popular travel destination Fraser Island on 4 July.

It saw a 36-year-old spear fisherman die hours after he was bitten on one of his legs.

On 7 June, a 60-year-old surfer was killed by a three-metre (10ft) great white shark at an unprotected beach south of Gold Coast near Kingscliff.