A teenage girl has sadly died after being mauled to death by a shark in Western Australia.
The 16-year-old is believed to have been jetskiing with her friends south of Perth. Spotting a pool of dolphins, she dived into the Swan River in North Fremantle.
The girl was attacked by a shark whilst she was swimming, the first fatal attack in the Swan River since 1923.
Emergency services were rushed to the scene, where she was pulled out of the water with severe leg injuries. Despite the attempts of several paramedics to save her, the teenager died.
Police have not issued specifics of the girl’s injuries, nor what species of shark launched the attack.
WA Police initially thought that she may have been hit by a boat propeller, having received a triple zero call at around 3.30pm. Fremantle District Acting Inspector Paul Robinson later described the scene as “traumatic” for both the young girl and her friends.
“It’s an extremely traumatic event for everyone involved and everyone who knew the young girl, so I won’t be going into the extent of the injuries”, Mr Robinson said, adding that it was odd for a shark to be circling in that location.
He added: “It is unusual for a shark to be that far down the river…at this point in time an alert has been put out, a shark warning just to let people know this incident has taken place.
“What we’ve been advised issues with friends on the rivers, they were on Jet Skis, there was possibly a pod of dolphins been seen nearby, and the young female jumped in the water to swim nearby the dolphins.”
A fatal shark attack has not been recorded in the Swan River since 31 January 1921, the only confirmed incident of its kind. A then-13-year-old Scotch College student Charles Robinson was killed after he was attacked by a shark, swimming six metres from the shore at Freshwater Bay close to his school’s boat shed.
There are concerns that shark bites incidences are increasing across Australia, with eight fatal attacks reported in 2020, the highest number since 1929.
In February 2022, a British expat became the victim of the first fatal shark attack in Sydney since 1963. 35-year-old Simon Nellist, a diving instructor from Cornwall, was mauled by a Great White Shark at a fishing spot near Little Bay.
In 2022, The Australian Shark Incident Database recorded nine shark bites across Australia. Only one of these was fatal.