A shark attack in Australia has left a woman dead. The woman was swimming with a group of friends near the village of Tathra when she decided to try to swim from the wharf to the beach. Hundreds of swimmers visit the area to take part in the Thathra Wharf to Waves event and swim the same stretch each year. The total distance between the wharf and the beach is about 2,970 feet.
During the swim, the woman who was said to be in her 60’s, was attacked. Details of the attack were not available and the woman’s name has not been released. A search is underway to find the remains of the woman and to possibly locate the shark. Police are not sure what species of shark is responsible for the attack or how big the shark is.
Local council general manager Leanne Barnes said the victim was part of a group of Tathra locals who meet every morning to swim to the wharf and back.
Shark attacks are common in Australia, and fatal attacks are occurring more often. In November, two men were killed by sharks on both the east and west coasts. The remains of several people have also been found in the area. One set of remains appeared to have shark bites, but police were not sure if the bites occurred before or after death or if a shark attack was the cause of death.The area where the recent fatal attack occurred is a popular tourist destination and busy beach area.
"It's a beautiful little coastal village and this is one of those sad things that can happen," a local resident said.
Shark attacks can happen without warning and most experts believe that shark attacks are cases of mistaken identity. Swimmers and waders can look like seals or other animals that sharks commonly feed on, and they mistakenly attack people, thinking they are prey.
This is also one of the reasons most shark attacks are not fatal. When the shark realizes it has bitten something it is not familiar with, it spits it back out or releases the victim.
If you are planning a trip to the beach this year, stay alert and swim in areas that are monitored by lifeguards.
What type of shark do you think is responsible for the attack?
Image via Wikimedia Commons