Added by Nigel Shelbourne on September 5, 2011
A young surfer, James Burden, 21 has died after a shark attacked him severing both legs at 1 pm on Sunday (9pm UTC/GMT). Burden was body-surfing with four other friends at the time of the attack that occurred near a packed beach at a popular surfing spot called ‘Boneyards’ near Bunker Bay, about 300km south of Perth. Authorities cordoned off the beach and are trawling the area for the shark, believed to be a Great White Shark.
Dunsborough Police Sergeant Craig Anderson said that weather conditions were favourable for shark attacks with light rain, overcast skies, and dark gloomy water; whale were spotted in the area earlier in the morning. However, Anderson confirmed that this is the first instance of a shark attack in the area.
Sergeant Anderson said that Burden’s traumatized mother was flying in from Queensland.
Anderson said that witnesses did not see what attacked the surfer, who was pulled from a pool of blood red water by his friends. However, others on the beach sighted the shark some time after the attack. Anderson added he though it was fortunate that the shark did not attack anyone else even though there were many people in the water at the time of the attack.
Hamish McLeay, a Bunkers Beach Cafe manager for six years, said that the water was full of people at the time of the shark attack and confirmed Sergeant Craig’s statement that the settings were perfect for a shark attack adding that this was the first fatal incident in Bunker Bay area though sharks have been encountered by beach goers in the past.
McLeay said that the shark may have been attracted to the area by a nearby colony of seal.
Hugh Edwards, a WA shark expert working on his next book on sharks told news reporters that he was certain it was a Great White. He added that shark attacks are comparatively rare; however, in the last six months there have been three attacks, two fatal attacks at Gracetown and one at Coogee.
The social network sites are rife with condolence messages to the bereaved family and the beach is expected to remain closed until midnight tonight as authorities trawl the coast for the killer shark