Sharks kill second surfer

by Frank Thorne in Sydney
Monday, September 25, 2000

Shock waves went though Australia's surfing community today after a second boarder was taken by a shark in just over 24 hours. 

The 17-year-old was missing, feared dead, following today's attack off a beach in South Australia, 120 miles from where a New Zealander on his honeymoon was killed by a Great White shark yesterday morning. 

Several witnesses were in the water off Black Point today when the boarder, believed to be local, was grabbed about 50 metres from the shore. 

A full-scale search was mounted with the help of local boats and emergency service volunteers. The teenager's surfboard was recovered but hours after the attack his body had not been found. 

Police were unable to confirm the type of shark responsible but it appeared likely that it was similar to the one which yesterday killed Cameron Bayes off Cactus Beach. News of the second tragedy broke as searchers were still combing miles of beaches along the coast for the remains of 25-year-old Mr Bayes. As they did so, his grief-stricken bride, Tina, was flown home to New Zealand. 

Witnesses said Mr Bayes climbed back on his surfboard and tried to paddle away from the 15ft shark after being attacked but he died instantly when it struck for the second time. 

Jeff Hunter, who has surfed Cactus Beach for more than 25 years, said it was over in minutes. 

"It was a ferocious attack," he said. "I saw the shark quickly circle the man before knocking him into the water. It took him in a circular motion." 

The shark released its victim but then took him under again about 60 yards offshore, said Mr Hunter. "It looked horrendous. There was blood and board everywhere. It was just a blur of shark and thrashing water." The shark then surfaced and appeared to spit out a piece of surfboard. 

The attack is the second shark death at Cactus Beach. A local swimmer bled to death in 1975 after a Great White bit off his leg. 

Although shark sightings are common in Australia, on average only one person a year is killed by sharks and between six to eight attacks are reported annually.

     © Associated Newspapers Ltd., 25 September 2000

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