13 December 2004

Shark kills fisherman on Great Barrier Reef

Sydney - A fisherman who screamed for help as a shark mauled him at a popular tourist spot on Australia's Great Barrier Reef on Saturday died before onlookers could pull him to safety, police said.

The 38-year-old Australian man was spearfishing about 60km off Port Douglas on the northeast coast in an area known to tourist charter boat operators as Opal Reef when the unknown species of shark attacked, a police spokesperson said.

"His two mates in a nearby boat heard screaming coming from the water, then saw him surrounded by a pool of blood," the spokesperson said.

"He died before a rescue helicopter could get to him."

His companions eventually managed to pull him back on deck after the shark disappeared but he died a short time later from serious injuries, she said.

Thousands of tourists visit the Port Douglas stretch of the Barrier Reef each year, including in the past former United States president Bill Clinton.


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