A 16-year-old boy allegedly witnessed the deadly shark attack. He was with a group of friends who were swinging from a bridge rope swing into the Swan River when they noticed a jetski nearby.
“There were about seven of us, and we were on the rope swing for around an hour or two,” the witness told Western Australia Today. “We saw the dolphins, there were dolphins there.”
“When all the police came by we thought we were in trouble,” he added. “They looked at us and they didn’t tell us about it which is kind of worrying as after this had happened we were still jumping off the rope swing.”
“Another person then came over on a jetski and told us to get out of the water,” the boy explained. “We were so grateful that it wasn’t one of us, of course we’re so sorry for what happened and for the family involved.”
The teen girl was pulled from the Swan River with critical injuries. Emergency crews provided medical treatment, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police Acting Inspector Paul Robinson described the shark attack as “very, very traumatic,” and said the girl’s family was “absolutely devastated by the news” of her tragic death.
“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 counseling services to anyone who did witness it or is affected by the incident,” Robinson said.
The species of the shark in the killing of the teen girl has yet to be identified.
The Department of Fisheries found it very unusual for a shark to be so far down the river.
The fatal shark attack is believed to be the first in the Swan River in a century.
Australian news outlet The Age reported, “The only recorded fatal bull shark attack in the Swan River prior to Saturday’s incident happened in 1923, when a 13-year-old boy was bitten on the thigh while swimming near Mosman Park.”
The National Wildlife Federation noted, “Unlike most sharks, bull sharks can survive in freshwater for long periods of time. They have even been found in the Mississippi and Amazon Rivers. They prefer shallow coastal water, which means they can often come into contact with humans. Bull sharks are often considered to be the most dangerous sharks to humans because of their aggressive tendencies and ability to migrate up rivers.”
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