Several beaches in Sydney, including the popular Bondi and Bronte, were closed Thursday after a swimmer Killed in a shark attackIt is the first such death on the city’s beaches in nearly 60 years.
Drum lines, used to bait the sharks, have been set up near the site of the attack while drones have been deployed while officials search whether the shark is still in the area.
A video posted online showed a shark attacking a person Wednesday afternoon off Little Bay Beach, about 12 miles south of Australia’s largest city and near the entrance to Botany Bay. Police have not yet revealed the identity of the swimmer.
“This was a complete shock to our community,” Dylan Parker, mayor of Randwick Council, which includes Little Bay, told Reuters. “Our shoreline is our backyard and a tragic death under these horrific conditions is absolutely appalling.”
The attack comes days before the Murray Rose Malabar Magic Ocean Swim Event, an annual charity event usually attended by thousands of swimmers at the nearby beach. Organizers said they were monitoring the situation and if the event was postponed it would be held on March 6.
A spokesperson for the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries said shark biologists believe a great white shark at least 9.8 feet long was likely responsible for the attack. The data showed this was the first fatal shark attack in Sydney since 1963.
Authorities ordered people to stay out of the water on a hot summer day as temperatures hovered close to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
“A few crazy surfers still get out there and take risks, but most of us are paying attention and staying out of the water until the sharks are gone. Driving is much more dangerous to be honest,” Karen Romalis, a local resident, told Reuters.
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