21 October 2005

Australia: Shark alert at popular beach

LIFEGUARDS closed two beaches early today after a 3m shark approached a boat training just off-shore.

About 100 swimmers were evacuated from the water after the North Cottesloe Surf Life Saving crew spotted the shark 200m off the popular Perth beach just before 7am.

Surf Life Saving Western Australia operations manager Grant Trew said the five lifesavers on board were shaken but returned to shore safely to raise the alarm.

"The shark approached the boat and it hung around for a while then left without incident," Mr Trew said. "Eyewitnesses said it looked like a bronze whaler."

North Cottesloe and Cottesloe beaches were closed while a plane conducting whale surveys nearby scanned the coast for any further sign of the shark.

The all-clear was announced about 8.30am but lifeguards remained on alert in case the shark came back.

Mr Trew said each sighting was taken very seriously and there was an effective drill for the situation carried out in conjunction with the Department of Fisheries and the Water Police.

He said it was rare to have a confirmed shark sighting so close to shore. It was more usual to see sharks while fishing several kilometres out.

In November 2000, Perth businessman Ken Crew was killed by a 4m white pointer shark while finishing his morning swim in waist-high water at Cottesloe beach.

Source: www.thesundaymail.news.com.au


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