Man killed in shark attack at Western Australia's popular Cable Beach

Grace Millimaci
·2 min read
Cable Beach is a popular tourist destination - Andrea Pistolesi
Cable Beach is a popular tourist destination - Andrea Pistolesi

A man has been killed in a shark attack on the north-west coast of Western Australia, the eighth fatal shark incident in Australian waters this year alone.

The incident happened at Cable Beach in the Kimberley region's popular tourism destination of Broome about 8.45am local time (12.45am GMT).

It is understood that the 55-year-old man had been bodyboarding when he was bitten.

WA Police said the man was recovered from the water and treated by local police officers before St John Ambulance arrived.

"Tragically the man has died as a result of his injuries," a WA Police spokesperson said.

Associated Press reported that officers shot at the shark, which "lingered close to the shore, for almost half an hour after the attack".

"The species of the shark was not immediately confirmed, but locals told reporters it may have been a tiger shark, which are sometimes drawn close to the shore by shoals of small fish," AP said.

Kimberley District Police Inspector Gene Pears said the victim had been bodyboarding about 100-130 feet (30-40 meters) from the beach when he was attacked.

A couple on the beach saw thrashing in the water and rushed to drag the man to safety. He suffered injuries to his leg and hand, AP reported.

"It's a tragic incident, very unexpected, a person going out to have a bit of fun in the water," Insp. Pears said.

The attack occurred approximately 0.9 miles (1.5km) north of Cable Beach Surf Club, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development said on the Government's SharkSmart website.

The Shire of Broome's rangers worked with government departments including the Department of Fisheries to close beaches in the area to the public - from Coconut Wells to Streeter’s Jetty.

"People are urged to stay out of the water and not travel to the beaches," the shire warned.

Beaches will remain closed until 9am on Monday, local time.

"No swimming is permitted under any circumstances," the Shire of Broome said.

"The decision has been made in consultation and partnership with the Department of Fisheries and other relevant stakeholders."

The shire thanked people for their cooperation "on this sad day for our community".

Broome is a popular holiday destination - particularly with international visitors. But WA's tough border restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic has made it a perfect option for West Australians searching for a getaway within the state.The man's death comes after Andrew Sharpe was fatally attacked by a shark in Western Australia's Wylie Bay in October.

The death toll from shark attacks in 2020 is Australia's highest since 1929, when nine people died.