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Australian surfer killed in shark attack in area that was thought to be protected

Greenmount Beach in Australia was the site of a fatal shark attack Tuesday. (David Clark/AP)

A 46-year-old surfer died Tuesday after being attacked by a shark on Australia’s Gold Coast, the first fatal shark attack off that specific portion of Australia’s eastern beach areas in more than six decades.

According to numerous reports, the unidentified man was pulled out of waist-deep water and onto the beach by witnesses who spotted him floating in the water next to his surfboard. Paramedics arrived to discover a man with “quite a serious leg injury,” a police spokesman told the Brisbane Times.

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“He was pretty much already gone by then,” Jade Parker, one of the people who helped pull the man from the water, told the Times. “From the groin area down to below his knee was pretty much all taken. … There was nothing there, it was, like, hanging there.”

Parker’s full comments are in this video supplied by 7News:

Another surfer, Leo Cabral, told 9News that he was filming his teenage son in the water when the man was attacked.

“I was focused on my son with a camera and I heard people yelling ‘shark, shark, shark,' ” Cabral said.

“I looked around and thought maybe it's a dolphin. I looked again at my son and with my camera, I zoomed in next to him to his left and I saw a board and the guy was laying down in the water.

“The first thing that came to my mind was that I just wanted my son and his friends to be out of the water. … I couldn’t feel my body at all, I was completely frozen, I was blank.

“I started screaming to my son to get out of the water.”

The attack took place off Greenmount Beach, which is protected by a series of drumlines set up by the Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries. The baited drumlines are used to catch sharks before they reach the beach areas, with the sharks either euthanized (if it’s a species associated with unprovoked bites) or released alive. Still, such preventive measures are not 100 percent reliable.

“The equipment lowers risk, but does not provide an impenetrable barrier between sharks and humans,” the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries writes on its website.

Monday’s death was the third fatal shark attack in the state of Queensland this year, though both of the others took place well to the north. Another surfer was killed in June about nine miles to the south of Greenmount Beach in Kingscliff, across the state border in New South Wales. But according to the Times, the last fatal beach shark attack off Australia’s Gold Coast took place in 1958 at Surfer’s Paradise, about 20 miles north of Greenmount Beach.

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