A 17-year-old girl has died after she was attacked by a shark as she surfed with her father off a beach in Western Australia.
Laeticia Brouwer and her family were holidaying in Esperance for the Easter weekend when she was attacked at nearby Wylie Bay.
Brouwer was pulled from the sea by her father at around 4pm on Monday. The shark had mauled one of her legs, leading to massive blood loss.
Police said Laeticia’s father “tried everything he could to save his daughter” while his wife and two other children watched in horror from the shore.
The teenager’s family released a statement on Tuesday in which they said they were “heartbroken and saddened” by her death.
It added: “We can take comfort in the fact that Laeticia died doing something that she loved. The ocean was her and her family’s passion.”
Wylie Bay beach was closed after the incident, with police urging local surfers and residents to avoid the area for at least 48 hours.
The shark has not yet been identified but the species is likely to be a great white, experts say.
The Kelp Beds break, which is popular with surfers and sits off the unpatrolled Wylie Bay beach, was also where a 23-year-old man lost part of both his arms in a non-fatal shark attack in 2014.
Brouwer’s death is the first fatal shark attack in Australia this year after two fatal attacks last year, both in Western Australia, according to a database.
Australia ranks behind only the United States in the number of unprovoked shark encounters with humans last year, the International Shark Attack File of the University of Florida shows.
It is testing wider use of shark nets at the country’s beaches while surfers are being drawn to new technology like board implants and wet suits that repel sharks.
Upon hearing the news of Brouwer’s death, shark hunter Viv Hislop called for a cull, claiming the pro-shark lobby was “brainwashing” the public.
He told news.com.au sharks were “patrolling” the east and west coasts of the country as they moved north for winter.
He said: “I’ve tried to tell them for the last 40 years. It’s going to continue to happen and the government’s letting everyone down with a false sense of security and all the bullshit that goes on.
“And as they continue to let the sharks escape after they eat somebody it’s going to get worse and worse. Make no mistake.”