Shark kills teenage girl in Western Australia

Sixteen-year-old was attacked in the Swan River in Perth

A cyclist rides alongside the Swan River in Perth, Australia. Bloomberg
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

A 16-year-old girl died on Saturday after being mauled by a shark in a river in Western Australia's state capital Perth after she jumped into the water to swim with a pod of dolphins.

Police said they were called to the scene of the attack near a traffic bridge on the Swan River, in the Fremantle port area of Perth, at about 3.45pm.

The girl was pulled from the water with critical injuries and she died at the scene, police said.

Police Acting Inspector Paul Robinson said the victim was with her friends on jet skis.

“There was possibly a pod of dolphins seen nearby and the young female jumped in the water to swim nearby the dolphins," Mr Robinson said.

“The family weren’t there when this took place, however, her friends were and as you can imagine this is an extremely traumatic incident for anyone to witness so obviously we’re offering counselling services to anyone who did witness it or is affected by the incident,” he said.

He said the Department of Fisheries had advised him it was unusual for a shark to be so far down the river, which flows through Perth into the Indian Ocean.

“I’ve spoken to fisheries and water police and unfortunately we have no idea what type of shark it is,” he said.

People were being urged to take extra caution in the Swan River around Fremantle in the wake of the mauling.

The last fatal shark attack in Western Australian waters was in November 2021, when a 57-year-old man was killed by a great white shark at Perth's Port Beach.

A man was severely injured by a bull shark while swimming in the Swan River in January 2021.

More than 100 species of shark live in the waters of Western Australia, the nation's largest state, with bull sharks often found many kilometres upriver.

The risk of shark attacks in the state is low, according to the state government, which has set up a dedicated shark response unit to work with first responders on shark incidents.

On the east coast, several Sydney beaches, including the famous Bondi and Bronte, were shut down last February after a swimmer was killed in a shark attack, the first such fatality at the city's beaches in nearly 60 years.

Australia ranked behind only the United States in the number of unprovoked shark bites on humans in 2021, according to the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File.

With reporting from agencies

Updated: February 05, 2023, 5:16 AM