A young man was attacked and killed by a shark as he surfed in Western Australia on Saturday, the third such attack near the community of Gracetown in the past three years.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the man was pulled from the water already dead and with missing limbs around 9:00 in the morning at Left Handers Beach. No one was able to sight the shark, although it is suspected to be a great white, often seen in the area.
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Authorities have released an order to capture the shark, writes the West Australian, as the creature is considered a serious hazard due to the number of swimmers and surfers in the area - although the command was not considered "shoot to kill."
Sadly, the attack is not the first to take place in the Gracetown area: one surfer was killed near Gracetown in 2004, while surfer Nicholas Edwards was killed in 2010 near South Point.
Surfer Bradley Smith was taken by a great white at a beach near the town in 2004, and another surfer, Nicholas Edwards, was killed by a shark at nearby South Point.
Shark attacks invariably make international headlines, but how common are they, really? The Conservation Society Australia has documented 689 unprovoked shark attacks in Australia since 1791, with a 29 percent fatality rate. That evens out to about one fatal shark attack a year — driving your car is a lot more dangerous, if less scary to contemplate while snorkeling.
Experts suggest it is also misleading to believe that shark attacks are becoming more common, as if sharks decided en-masse that humans were tasty.
Per Matt Walker of the BBC, the perceived increase in attacks is likely due to two factors: better reporting on shark attacks, and an ever-expanding human population that is increasingly based near the water.