Man dies in shark attack in Australia's New South Wales

Two men walk past a shark warning sign on a beach in Newcastle (January 2015) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Australia has seen a series of shark attacks in recent years - but critics say that the threat is exaggerated

A man has been killed in a shark attack on the New South Wales north coast, police say, a day after another man was injured by a shark in the same area.

Police said the man, believed to be a Japanese national, died at Shelly Beach near Ballina, some 730km (452 miles) north of Sydney.

Surfers helped him to shore and performed first aid, but the man died.

There have been several shark attacks off Australia's beaches in recent years.

The attack happened around 09:45 (22:45 GMT Sunday) on Monday, police said. Friends of the man rushed him to shore to try to save him, but could not.

"Because both legs were gone, he bled to death very quickly,'' the Associated Press news agency quoted Ballina Mayor David Wright as saying.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Swimmers are periodically evacuated from the sea at beaches because of shark scares

A cafe owner, identified only as Karen, was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying the shark "just came up between a bunch of surfers".

"They weren't even that far out," she reportedly said.

Beaches in the area have been closed, with this incident coming soon after a 35-year-old man was attacked on his surf board off Seven Mile Beach near Byron Bay, only 30km north of Ballina.

He was reported to have suffered a cut to his back and puncture wounds to his buttocks, but was stable after driving himself to hospital on Monday.

"I just freaked out," Jabez Reitman said of his attack by a shark estimated to be 2-3m (7-10ft) long on Sunday. "I thought it was a dolphin at first until I started feeling and realised it was pretty significant lacerations."

Concern has grown over shark attacks recently. A 50-year-old Briton was killed by a shark in Byron Bay in September 2014.

Western Australia has also seen a series of attacks but attempts by its government to introduce a shark cull were dropped last year.

Baited traps known as drum lines had been set up along seven beaches to catch sharks, catching more than 170 during a 13-week trial in early 2014.

None was great white sharks, however, to which most of the recent fatal attacks had been attributed.

The state's environmental regulator blocked the controversial policy, citing "a high degree of scientific uncertainty" about the impact on the white shark population.

Shark attacks in Australia

  • New South Wales sees more attacks than any other state, followed by Queensland and Western Australia
  • The Northern Territory and Tasmania see the fewest attacks
  • Attacks in 2014: Man killed at Cheynes Beach, WA (Dec), Man killed off Port Douglas, Qld (Dec), Man killed at Byron Bay, NSW (Sep), Woman killed at Tathra Beach, NSW (Apr), Man killed off Goldsmith Beach, SA (Feb)
  • Attacks in 2013: Man killed at Campbell's Beach, NSW (Nov); Man killed in Gracetown, WA (Nov)
  • Sept 2011-Jul 2012: Five people killed off Western Australia's beaches

Sources:, Australian media reports

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