Fifth Fatal Shark Attack Puts Western Australia on High Alert

A 24-year-old surfer is killed by a massive Great White, prompting a debate over culling the region's shark population.

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A great white shark swimming.

Western Australia is fast becoming known as the deadliest place in the world for shark attacks. A fatal attack over the weekend, which occurred about 100 miles north of the city of Perth, was the fifth death in that region in the last 10 months.

A 24-year-old surfer from Perth, Benjamin Linden, was attacked Saturday morning by a great white shark about 600 feet off Wedge Island, a popular family vacation destination. A nearby jetskier saw blood in the water and rushed to help the victim, but by the time he got there it was too late to do anything but drag Linden’s body — which the shark had severed in half — to the shore.

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“There was blood everywhere and a massive, massive white shark circling the body,” Matt Holmes told Sky News. “I reached to grab the body and the shark came at me on the jet ski and tried to throw me off.”

Holmes circled around again, but couldn’t reach Linden, and the shark raced with his remains into deeper waters.

Officials promptly closed the beach and set up bait to lure the shark in captivity, but to no avail. Neither the shark nor the body was spotted again the rest of the day, despite both a helicopter and boat search of the area.

Locals have nicknamed the deadly shark Brutus and witnesses say it measures anywhere from 16 to 24 feet long.

Western Australia’s senior shark research scientist, Rory McAuley, told The Australian that the state has become the deadliest in the world for shark attacks with an “unprecedented” number of fatalities in the last 24 months. He said that data shows sharks sticking around the coast for months at a time.

Officials in Western Australia are now debating culling the shark population in the area in an attempt to cut down on the number of attacks.

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