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Diver Found Dead After Suspected Shark Attack in Australia

Jun 06, 2016 05:31 AM EDT
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A 60-year-old female diver was found dead after being attacked by a 5-meter long shark in Perth, Australia.
(Photo : Steve Garner / Flickr)

A female diver was found dead after being attacked by a shark in Australia, officials said.

The woman, 60, was said to be diving off the northern suburb of Mindarie in Perth, Western Australia with her 43-year-old diving partner on Sunday morning when she was attacked by a shark, which was reportedly over 5.3 meters in size.

Police Inspector Danny Mulligan told ABC that three fishermen had reported seeing a large shark.

"The boat that was in the water was 5.3 meters long, and they say that the shark was longer than their boat," Mulligan said.

According to Mulligan, the three men, who were heading out to fish, came to the divers' aid just when the woman's companion retrieved her body from the water.

The woman's partner had felt "something go past him" while he was diving, Mulligan said.

"When he surfaced, he saw a commotion in the water and then another boat arrived to pull him out of the water, and then it was noticed that the lady had suffered some severe fatal injuries," he added.

The woman was believed to have died from her injuries.

According to Mulligan, the pair "regularly dived together in this area."

The state Department of Fisheries is ruling out this incident as a fatal shark attack, and it had set three drum lines in the area to catch the shark.

"Given the nature of the injuries and the location of the incident, it is likely that a large white shark greater than three meters in size is responsible," said the department officials in a statement.

The woman's diving partner was also reportedly injured, according to a local surfer on the site.

The Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) tweeted earlier that day saying that a shark had been sighted about 1 kilometer off Mindarie Beach. It also said that there had been a "possible shark interaction."

The incident was the second fatal shark attack in Western Australia in a span of six days.

The first victim, 29-year-old Ben Gerring, was reportedly mauled by a shark off Falcon Beach south of Mindarie. He died last Tuesday in the Royal Perth Hospital after losing his leg.

A 4.2-meter shark was caught the following day near the site of the attack, but officials were unsure whether the animal was responsible.

According to the International Shark Attack File, out of the 98 shark attacks recorded worldwide last year, only six were fatal. One of these fatal attacks happened in Australia.

Experts believe that the growing popularity of water sports in the country is the reason behind the increasing number of shark attacks, although deaths are still uncommon.

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