Beaches closed on Australia's tourist Gold Coast after surfer dies in shark attack

It was the first fatal shark attack on the beach in 62 years.
It was the first fatal shark attack on the beach in 62 years.PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - A 46-year-old Australian surfer died after being attacked by a shark on a popular Gold Coast beach, the first fatal shark attack on the beach in 62 years and despite protective "shark nets" and drumlines offshore.

The man was attacked at Greenmount Beach late on Tuesday (Sept 8) while surfing what is called the "Superbank", one of the world's best and most crowded waves and the site for an annual world surfing championship contest.

Video of the attack from a beach surf camera showed dozens of other surfers in the water at the time. There can often be hundreds of people in the water as the break is regarded as one of the safest in Australia.

Other surfers took the man to shore, where he was treated for severe leg injuries, footage from local media showed.

"Around 5pm, the man was pulled from the surf suffering from a life-threatening leg injury. The man succumbed to his injuries at the scene," Queensland state police said in a statement.

Beaches along the Gold Coast tourist strip have been closed.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Wednesday said that a large tiger shark was trapped in safety nets off the beach, but it was unclear what type of shark was involved in the attack.

Specially designed shark nets are placed in the waters off many popular Australian beaches. The nets reduce the chance of a shark attack but do not create a total barrier between swimmers and sharks. Some beaches also have drumlines, which bait sharks that are then released offshore.

Australia's east coast has had a number of Great White Shark attacks in recent months. There have been a total of 19 shark attacks in 2020, according to data published by the Taronga Conservation Society.