East coast Aus­tralian beaches closed af­ter new shark sight­ings

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Sev­eral beaches on the east coast of Aus­tralia were closed Sun­day af­ter fresh shark sight­ings as author­i­ties warned swim­mers to be vig­i­lant fol­low­ing an at­tack that left a surfer with se­ri­ous arm and leg in­juries.

Beaches at the tourist hub of Bal­lina, where a body­boarder was se­verely in­jured by a shark last month and a Ja­panese surfer was killed in Fe­bru­ary, stayed closed af­ter sight­ings this week­end, Surf Life Sav­ing New South Wales said.

“There were a cou­ple of sight­ings yesterday of quite large sharks so they closed the (beaches),” a Surf Life Sav­ing NSW spokes­woman told AFP of the Bal­lina re­gion, a pop­u­lar spot some 740 kilo­me­ters (460 miles) north of Syd­ney.

“Our vol­un­teers ... went out this morn­ing and saw another large shark near Light­house Beach.”

Beaches near Evans Head where a 52-year-old surfer was bit­ten on Fri­day were re­opened but NSW state po­lice ad­vised those en­ter­ing the wa­ter to “re­main vig­i­lant.”

The surfer, named in lo­cal media as Craig Ison, punched a shark af­ter be­ing at­tacked about 100 me­ters off­shore at Evans Head just south of Bal­lina.

He suf­fered bite wounds to his legs and hands and has since un­der­gone surgery in hos­pi­tal.

Author­i­ties said the pres­ence of bait­fish was at­tract­ing sharks to Bal­lina and nearby ar­eas.

“The jet res­cue boat crew re­ported that there were lots and lots of bait­fish schools around the area this morn­ing, so it was fairly log­i­cal that they would then spot a shark there as well, and that’s what hap­pened,” the Surf Life Sav­ing NSW spokes­woman said.

The beach clo­sures come just over a week af­ter a scal­lop diver was killed by a shark off Maria Is­land in the south­ern state of Tas­ma­nia as his daugh­ter watched.

Ex­perts say at­tacks are in­creas­ing as wa­ter sports be­come more pop­u­lar, but fa­tal­i­ties re­main rare.

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