Australian beach deserted after another shark attack fatality in record year

Australian beach deserted after another shark attack fatality in record yearWylie Bay, a stunning whitesand beach with a famous surf break, lies hauntingly empty. Only the sounds of the sea and the gentle breeze puncture the silence. It is a week since Andrew Sharpe, a 53-year-old surfer and local businessperson, was attacked by a shark believed to be at least four metres in length at Kelp Beds. His friends tried desperately to save him, but he was pulled under the waves and not seen again. “I’ve never seen a dorsal fin that big before, not even in media footage," a witness to the attack, Ross Tamlin, said. Mr Sharpe is just the latest victim. His death marks the seventh fatal shark attack in Australian waters in 2020, the worst toll since 1929. The numbers are raising questions from locals and scientists alike, who are pointing to warming waters due to climate change, depleted fishing stocks and a domestic tourism boom triggered by Covid-19. A friend of Mr Sharpe who did not want their name used told The Telegraph they had known him since primary school. “He accepted everyone for who they were. No judgements. Was a grass roots friend. Beautiful, grounded family. Absolutely beautiful wife and children,” they said. “He is bringing a lot of mates together by default next week. He would love that.” Veteran abalone diver Ean Clare said the seaside town of about 13,000 people had been “rocked” by the latest death. “I knew Andrew, he was a year younger than me… I would see him around and say ‘how are you goin’ Sharpey?’ … The town was rocked by it,” he said.

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