Several Sydney beaches, including the famed Bondi and Bronte, were closed on Thursday after a swimmer was killed in a shark attack, the city’s first in nearly 60 years.
Drum lines, which are used to entice sharks, have been strung up near the assault location, and officials have dispatched drones to see if the shark is still in the region.
On Wednesday afternoon, a shark attacked a person off Little Bay beach, roughly 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Australia’s largest city and near the entrance to Botany Bay, according to a video published online. The identity of the swimmer has not yet been revealed by police.
“This has come as a huge shock to our community,” said Dylan Parker, mayor of Randwick Council, which covers Little Bay. “Our shoreline is our backyard, and a tragic loss under such horrific circumstances is extremely heartbreaking.”
A charity ocean swim at a nearby beach scheduled for Sunday was cancelled out of respect for the victim and family. Organisers of the Murray Rose Malabar Magic Ocean Swim had considered postponing the swim till March, but said they decided to cancel it after consulting with the local council and lifesavers.
A spokesperson for the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries said its shark biologists believe that a white shark at least 3 metres (9.8 feet) in length was likely responsible for the attack. It was the first fatal shark attack in Sydney since 1963, data showed.
Authorities have ordered people to remain out of the water on a hot summer day as temperatures hovered around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).