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Sydney beaches closed for the first time in 60 years due to a fatal shark attack

FILE PHOTO: A surfer carries his board into the water next to a sign declaring a shark sighting on Sydney's Manly Beach, Australia, November 24, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray//File Photo

On Thursday, several Sydney beaches, including the famed Bondi and Bronte, were closed after a swimmer was killed in a shark attack, the city’s first such fatality in nearly 60 years.

The news: Drum lines, which are intended to attract sharks, have been strung up near the assault location, and officials have sent drones to see if the shark is still present.

  • On Wednesday afternoon, a shark attacked a person off Little Bay beach, roughly 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Australia’s largest city and near the entrance to Botany Bay, according to a video posted online.
  • The name of the swimmer has yet to be revealed by police.
  • A charity ocean swim set for Sunday at a nearby beach has been cancelled out of respect for the victim and his family. The Murray Rose Malabar Magic Ocean Swim organisers considered postponing the swim until March, but after talking with the local authorities and lifesavers, they opted to cancel it.
  • According to a representative for the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, shark experts think the assault was carried out by a white shark measuring at least 3 metres (9.8 ft) in length.
  • According to records, it was Sydney’s first deadly shark attack since 1963.
  • On a sweltering summer day with temperatures hovering over 30 degrees Celsius, authorities have warned residents to stay out of the water (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

What they’re saying: “This has been a complete shock for our community,” said Dylan Parker, the mayor of Randwick Council which includes Little Bay. “Our coastline is our backyard and to have a tragic death under such horrifying circumstances is completely shocking.”

  • “A few crazy surfers still go out and take the risk but most of us take notice and just stay out of the water until the sharks have gone. It’s a lot more dangerous driving, to be quite honest,” said local resident Karen Romalis.
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