Teenage surfer mauled to death by shark in Australia in front of desperate father, despite locals' fight to save him

28 December 2023, 18:41

The shark attack took place off Ethel Beach near Adelaide
The shark attack took place off Ethel Beach near Adelaide. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

A teenage boy has been killed by a shark in Australia while surfing around 30 metres away from the beach, despite fellow beachgoers trying to save him.

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The death of the 14-year-old boy off Ethel Beach, in the Innes National Park on the Yorke Peninsula, came in the fifth shark attack off South Australia this year.

Three of those have proved fatal.

South Australia Police said in a statement that the attack was reported to them at about 1.30pm on Thursday

"Sadly, the body of a teenage boy was recovered from the water," they added.

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Eyewitnesses said the boy's leg was bitten off before he died, adding that the attack took place in front of his father.

"The shark took his leg, and so another local guy ran out, jumped on his board and paddled out to help him," one bystander told local paper the Adelaide Advertiser.

"The shark was circling them as the guy pulled the boy out of the water. There was a lot of blood.

"He brought him to shore but I think it was too late by then."

A fisherman told the paper that shark sightings in the area were common.

"We’ve seen some pretty big bronzies in the area, but that’s normal here," he said.

He added: "There’s no cell reception out there in the park so we didn’t know what had happened until we got back to Marion Bay."

It comes after Simon Baccanello, a teacher, was killed by a shark in May while surfing at Walkers Rock off the Eyre Peninsula, to the west of where the boy was killed.

Tod Gendle was killed by a great white shark in October in Streaky Bay, to the north-west.

South Australia has fewer safety measures against sharks than fellow states New South Wales and Queensland.

Local authorities brought in aerial beach patrols in November amid public pressure to protect swimmers and surfers from attacks.

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