There were two men; the first, 37-old, was bitten on the lower leg at Cobblestones beach in Gracetown before 8am and managed to bodysurf back to shore; a second man, 41 old, was bitten while surfing off Lefthanders beach about 2.30pm; he identified the shark as a 4m long great white shark and said he managed to push it off after it bit his board and return to shore. Both attacks occurred near the Margaret River Pro surfing tournament which was suspended for about one hour before resuming at Main Break with enhanced safety measures including skis and drones.
Image from the Margaret River Pro surfing tournament
A 4-meter white shark was later spotted by the crew of Surf Live Saving WA’s helicopter. “The safety of our surfers and staff is a top priority. We have mitigation protocols in place and will be enhancing those when competition resumes,” the organizers said. The Department of Fisheries sent officers to investigate the incident. Under an agreement with the federal government, WA fisheries officers are authorised to kill sharks that are identified as causing an “serious threat” to human life, such as those involved in an attack. There have been three fatal shark attacks in the area since 2004. Margaret River Pro, established in 1985, is an event on the ASP World Surfing Tour.