Teenage Girl Dies After Shark Attack in Australian River
Police say a teenage girl has died after being attacked by a shark while swimming in a river in Western Australia on Saturday afternoon.
The girl, 16, was pulled from the Swan River, about 10 miles southwest of central Perth, with “serious injuries”, according to the Western Australian Police Force, which responded to the attack. labour.
Inspector Paul Robinson of Fremantle County of the Western Australian police force said at a news conference.
He said the girl died at the scene of her injuries but did not specify what those injuries were. Inspector Robinson added: “It was an extremely traumatic event for all involved. “It’s unusual for a shark to be this far in the river.”
The principal of Scotch College, a private boys’ school in Perth, identified the girl as Stella Berry, the daughter of an employee. Dr. Alec J. O’Connell, principal, wrote in a letter to the Scotch community that two boys from the school, friends of Stella, were the first to respond.
After the United States, Australia has the second highest rate of unprovoked shark attacks on record, according to data from International Shark Attack File. In 2021, there were 12 attacks across Australia and three of them were fatal. One expert said encounters in the river were particularly rare.
Johan Gustafson, a shark ecologist at Griffith University in Queensland, said that although sharks often “hang out” to eat fish, the chances of being bitten by a shark, especially in rivers, are slim.
Dr Gustafson added: “This could just be one of those misidentification situations. He notes that swimming or surfing during the day and outside of feeding are the best ways to reduce the risk.
Six other shark attacks, one of which were fatal, have been recorded in the Swan River, according to Australian Shark Incident Database. The The most recent attack was in 2021when a man in his 50s was bitten in the leg by a two to three meter snake bull sharka species that can enter estuaries and freshwater river systems.
While authorities have yet to identify what type of shark is involved in Saturday’s attack, the state’s fisheries minister, Don Punch, said at a news conference that the animal could be a bull shark.
Mr Punch said additional safeguards to protect swimmers from sharks in the area could be considered. He said the nearby beach was closed after the attack and the river was being patrolled.
“It was not possible to effectively close the river mouth,” said Mr Punch, “when we knew that sharks could be anywhere.”