Surfer dies in shark attack off Australia's east coast

18 May 2021, 09:30

Image from a video shot on a nearby beach to where the man was attacked by a shark
Image from a video shot on a nearby beach to where the man was attacked by a shark. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A surfer in his 50s has been killed in a shark attack off the east coast of Australia, police have said.

The man was attacked late Tuesday morning while surfing off the New South Wales town of Forster - 137 miles north of Sydney.

A police statement said onlookers pulled him from the water but he had suffered critical injuries to his upper right thigh.

Ambulance crews said they could not resuscitate the surfer despite their best efforts and those of bystanders.

Beaches in the town have since been closed.

Police and government authorities are working together to identify the species of shark involved.

Read more: Shark kills surfer near Gold Coast in Australia

Read more: Woman dies in suspected shark attack in New Zealand

Read more: Man dies in shark attack in Western Australia

Forster's beaches have been temporarily closed
Forster's beaches have been temporarily closed. Picture: PA

Following a drone search in the area, Lower North Coast Surf Life Saving branch president Brian Wilcox said two sharks had been spotted.

"It's pretty unprecedented. I can't recall ever having a shark attack in this area," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

"We'll... do drone missions for the next couple of days, within the Tuncurry Beach area, just to make sure there are no sharks hanging around," Mr Wilcox added, referring to the beach where the surfer was attacked.

The identity of the man has not yet been released.

His death marked the first fatal shark attack in the country since November when a 55-year-old surfer was mauled near the north-west town of Broome in Western Australia.