First fatal shark attack in 60 years closes Sydney beaches

Feb 17, 2022
Several NSW beaches were closed for 24 hours after the attack. Source: Getty

Sydney has experienced its first fatal shark attack in almost 60 years after ambulance crews received a panicked call for help from a horrified witness of the event on Wednesday, February 16.

Soon after 4.30pm on Wednesday, four ambulances and a rescue helicopter arrived at the scene on the northern side of Buchan Point, in Sydney. Police reported uncovering human remains in the area that was searched however, at the time of publication, the victim has not yet been identified.

Lucky Phrachanh from the New South Wales ambulance department described the victim as having fatal injuries beyond saving.

“Unfortunately this person had suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of the attack and there was nothing paramedics could do when we arrived on the scene,” he said.

This incident marks the first fatal shark attack in Sydney, in nearly 60 years. A video filmed of the attack has shocked the nation, with many nearby beachgoers nervous to enter the water.

The last fatal shark attack on a Sydney beach occurred at Sugarloaf Bay in 1963.

Dylan Parker, Randwick Mayor, described the too-close-to-home incident as “chilling”.

“The coast is our community’s backyard,” he said.

“Little Bay is normally such a calm, beautiful place, enjoyed by families.

“To lose someone to a shark – this is chilling. We are all in shock.”

A witness of the events described seeing a man in a wetsuit swimming across the bay before he was attacked by a large shark and dragged under the currents.

“He was yelling at first, and then when he went down there were so many splashes,” the witness said.

“The shark won’t stop.

“It was terrible. I am shaking.

I keep vomiting. It’s very, very upsetting.”

“He just went down for a swim, enjoying the day, but that shark took his life.”

Randwick City Council had closed the area and surrounding beaches including Little Bay, Malabar, Maroubra, Coogee, Clovelly and La Perouse for 24 hours as the community and authorities recovered from the fatal incident.

According to The Department of Primary Industries (DPI), the introduction of “smart” drumlines could be implemented in an attempt to track future shark activity for the purpose of relocating them offshore.

There have been reports of non-fatal shark attacks at surrounding beaches in recent years, with a known attack occurring at Congwong Beach, just four kilometres away from Little Bay, in February 2018.





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