A man was killed in a shark attack off Cull Island in Western Australia on Sunday, making it the country’s first fatal shark attack in more than a year, officials say. A search is underway to find the victim’s body.
The incident happened at about 1 p.m. on Sunday when emergency services were called for a shark attack near Cull Island, which is located off the coast of Western Australia. Police said the victim had been diving off a boat.
A woman who was on the boat with the victim was taken to shore and treated for shock, but there was no sign of the victim. Officials from the local government said the victim was bitten by a great white shark and was presumed dead.
Sunday’s incident marks the first fatal shark attack in Australia since November 2018, when a 33-year-old man was killed in waters off Queensland. The victim was attacked by the shark when he got off a paddle boat which he was sharing with a woman.
While sharks are a common fear, they only kill about six people per year on average, according to figures from the International Shark Attack File (ISAF). At least six people died in shark attacks last year, which was slightly up from five in 2018.
“The somber truth is that most of the world’s shark populations are in decline, or exist at greatly reduced levels, as a consequence of overfishing and habitat loss,” ISAF said. It said fisheries kill about 100 million sharks and rays annually.