Shark rips bodyboarder in half off West Australia beach


A great white shark swims for a dead tuna, during a shark cage diving tour in the waters of Gansbaai in the Western Cape, South Africa.


Gianlugi Guercia

A tourist on a bodyboard was killed in a horrific attack by what was believed to have been a great white shark near a beach on Australia's west coast.

The 21-year-old was dead before fellow surfers could drag him ashore at a popular surfing spot called Boneyards, near Bunker Bay, about 3.5 hours south of Perth, the West Australian reports. 

The shark had pulled the man below the surface and ripped his legs off, horrifying those watching from the crowded beach, the Daily Mail reports.

The paper quoted Kurt Morris, a diner at the nearby Bunker Bay Cafe — reportedly packed at the time of the attack — as saying he'd been told by the man's friends that he had been torn apart.

"They were saying they were just two meters away from him," he said. "From the waist down, it was all gone."

Onlookers told the West Australian, meantime, that they believed the shark was a 4.5-meter great white.

Dunsborough Sgt. Craig Anderson told News.com.au that: "No one saw the shark itself but they've observed the young fellow's body in the water in amongst some blood.

Anderson described the weather conditions during the attack as "perfect shark conditions": "It was dark and gloomy water, overcast skies, light rain falling, there was whale action in the bay and some seals about."

He described the actions of the young man who pulled his fatally injured friend ashore as heroic.

"You have to take your hat off to the young fellow who was surfing with him and his mate for bringing him ashore, the nature of his injuries were significant," he said.

The victim, reportedly from Sydney, had been working in Western Australia (WA) for the past few years and vacationing at Cape Naturaliste, in the state's south west. 

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Shark expert Hugh Edwards told the West Australian that the "Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin area was a 'travel route' for sharks, particularly great whites."

"The risk of being attacked while in the water is very low but there's no doubt that there are far more people in the water in these areas than there were 10, 20 years ago so we are seeing more attacks," Mr Edwards said.