CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A shark fatally mauled a surfer on Tuesday on Australia’s Gold Coast city tourist strip in a rare attack off a beach protected by shark netting, officials said.
The man, aged in his 50s, was was brought to shore by fellow surfers and lifeguards at popular Greenmount Beach with leg injuries, Queensland state Ambulance Service supervisor William Houghton said.
Paramedics determined he was already dead on the beach, he said.
The death is only the second fatal shark attack off one of Queensland’s 85 beaches that have been protected by shark nets and drum lines since as early as 1962, the state government said.
The last fatal shark attack off a Gold Coast beach, 24 of which are now netted, was in 1958.
Shark nets are suspended from floats and run parallel to beaches. They are 186 meters (610 feet) long and 6 meters (20 feet) deep. Sharks can swim under the nets and around their ends.
No details were immediately available about the shark.
A Senate inquiry in 2017 found that Queensland shark nets create more harm than good. The Senate committee said nets give beachgoers a false sense of security while entangling and killing protected marine species including whales and turtles.
Australia’s last fatal shark attack was north of the Gold Coast near Fraser Island on July 4. A 36-year-old spear fisherman died hours after he was bitten on a leg.
A 60-year-old surfer was killed by a 3-meter (10-foot) great white shark at an unprotected beach south of the Gold Coast near Kingscliff on June 7.
This story has been corrected to show that the 85 protected beaches are across the state and not just on the Gold Coast.