Spear in throat the main clue in Aus­tralian hunt for shark

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

A teenager who es­caped a shark at­tack that killed his friend in Western Aus­tralia has de­scribed how he fired his spear gun into the sus­pected great white as au­thor­i­ties searched for the an­i­mal Tues­day.

The vic­tim, named by lo­cal me­dia as 17-year-old Jay Mus­cat, died after he was bit­ten on the leg by a shark while spear-fish­ing off Cheynes Beach, near Al­bany in the south­ern tip of Western Aus­tralia (WA) state, on Mon­day.

His friend Matt Pul­lella wrote on Face­book that “the shark hit me first then at­tacked Jay,” The West Aus­tralian re­ported.

“The shark turned and came for me, I pushed the spear­gun down its throat and fired the gun!” he wrote, adding that he es­ti­mated the an­i­mal to mea­sure four to five me­ters (13-16 feet) long.

“This is some­thing no one should ever have to see.”

WA’s Depart­ment of Fish­eries said Cheynes Beach would re­mained closed while equip­ment was de­ployed from boats to try and catch the shark, adding that it was most likely to be a great white.

“One of them (boats) will be set­ting (drum) lines, the other will be do­ing pa­trols in the nearby re­gions,” Depart­ment of Fish­eries spokesman Rick Fletcher told the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion.

“One of the peo­ple in­volved in the at­tack ac­tu­ally shot at the shark with a spear gun, so the shark may be in­jured so we are go­ing to have a look to see if we can find the shark if that is the case.”

The at­tack was the sec­ond fa­tal maul­ing in Aus­tralia since De­cem­ber 15, when a teenager was at­tacked while swimming near Rud­der Reef off Port Dou­glas, north­east Aus­tralia.

A young surfer lost parts of both arms in an at­tack by two great white sharks off the south coast of Western Aus­tralia in Oc­to­ber, prompt­ing of­fi­cials to catch and kill two of the an­i­mals in the area.

The state gov­ern­ment had ear­lier this year aban­doned a con­tro­ver­sial catch-and-kill pol­icy — where sharks are caught on large hooks at­tached to float­ing drums placed off beaches — after ob­jec­tions from the state’s en­vi­ron­men­tal agency.

Con­ser­va­tion­ists had also crit­i­cized the pol­icy and called on au­thor­i­ties to in­stead use non-lethal meth­ods to re­duce risks, such as clos­ing beaches and erect­ing warn­ing signs.

Ex­perts say at­tacks by sharks, which are common in Aus­tralian wa­ters, are in­creas­ing as wa­ter sports be­come more popular.

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