A teenager was killed by an 8ft long great white shark in front of family and friends while surfing off a beach in Australia.
Mani Hart-Deville, 15, suffered deep lacerations to his legs during the attack at Wooli Beach, the country’s second fatal mauling in a week and at least the fifth this year.
A traumatised witness said the boy screamed for help as he was bitten by the predator, which then attacked him a second time, and his friends “bravely” paddled to his aid and tried to fight off the shark.
The boy’s friends brought him back to shore, where they tried to stop the bleeding and performed CPR, but were unable to save him.
Have you been affected by this story? Email [email protected]
Witness Helen Dobra, a local resident, told 9 News the victim was screaming for help and his friends paddled to his aid and tried to fight the shark off of him.
After speaking to one of the surfers, she told a reporter: “Basically, he said that he was in the water and a really big great white shark came up and took a bite, and he was screaming out.
“Then the surfer said the shark came again for another attack… and another surfer actually bravely went and tried to get the shark off him and then they pulled him out of the water.”
Tourniquets were placed on the boy’s legs in a desperate bid to stop the bleeding, and CPR was performed, but he died on the beach.
Witnesses said Mani’s parents were at the scene.
TV footage shows family and friends weeping and consoling each other on the beach, and a white surfboard with a bite mark being carried away by police after the teen was attacked just after 2.30pm local time on Saturday.
Jake Trevillian, whose daughter is Mani’s age, told the Sunday Telegraph that the boy was from the local area and loved surfing and being in the water.
Mr Trevillian, a fellow surfer, said: “The world was his oyster. You could say that about a lot of kids but he was really clever, artistic, not shy, and they all loved him.
“He loved making his own surfboard, not many other kids are like that.
“He was an individual and didn’t follow the path of everyone else, and one of those ones you could tell he was going to do something cool with his life.”
Several surfers had reported seeing a great white shark in the area. The predators are following the whale migration north along Australia’s eastern coast.
Peter Sweetman, of Surf Life Saving New South Wales, told 7 News it was likely a great white shark, or “white pointer”, measuring 8ft (2.5 metres) in length.
He added: “They won’t know that until they’ve done forensic testing on the surfboard.
“It’s unusual, such a remote place as this for a shark attack to happen.”
A local fishing charter owner, named only as Stan, told the Sydney Morning Herald that great white sharks are common in the area.
He said: “I’ve done a lot of spearfishing and there’s a lot of sharks, a lot of great whites come through.”
The beauty spot, about 370 miles north of Sydney on Australia’s east coast, is popular with surfers and families.
Wooli and surrounding beaches have been closed as a precaution.
Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons told AAP that visitors had flocked to the area for the school holidays and there would likely have been many people in the water.
He added: “What’s happened there this afternoon would shake everybody.
“It’s terribly shocking. All of our sympathies, from people in the area, go out to the boy’s family.
“I just ask people to look out for their safety on the beaches.”
Police and the Department of Primary Industry are investigating the fatal attack.
A spokesperson for New South Wales Police said: “A teenage boy has died in a suspected shark attack on the Mid North Coast today.
“Witnesses have told police a shark attacked the teenager while he was surfing at Wilsons Headland at Wooli Beach, near Grafton, just before 2.30pm.
“Several board-riders came to his assistance before the injured teen could be helped to shore.
“First aid was rendered for serious injuries to his legs and despite CPR efforts to revive him, the 15-year-old died at the scene.
“Beaches in the area including Wooli, Diggers Camp and Minnie Water have been closed.
“Officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District will be liaising with the Department of Primary Industry to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death.
“A report will be prepared for the Coroner.
“Beachgoers are urged to follow safety advice from Surf Life Saving NSW and by visiting the Department of Primary Industry’s website.”
A spokesperson for Surf Life Saving said: “Beaches are closed throughout the Clarence Valley for 24 hours after a fatal shark attack near Wooli today.
“Lifesavers will be operating drones and jetskis tomorrow to assist investigations. Please do not enter the water in this region until further notice.”
On July 4, dad-of-two Matthew Tratt, 36, was killed by a suspected great white shark while spear fishing near Indian Head on the eastern side of Fraser Island in Queensland.
That location is about 390 miles north of Wooli Beach, where Saturday’s attack occurred.