A man was killed in a shark attack off a beach in Byron Bay, considered to be a popular Australian tourist hotspot.
The man succumbed to his injuries after being bitten mainly on his leg at the bay located in New South Wales, the most easterly point on the Australian mainland, various reports say. Swimmers' attempt to save the man went in vain, as he was pronounced dead as soon as he was brought to the beach, which has now closed for 24 hours, the Byron Shire Council, which controls the area said in a statement.
According to the New South Wales police, paramedics were called to Main Beach at around 10:45 am local time after reports of a shark attack.
"A man, believed to be aged in his 40s, was in the water when he was bitten on the right leg by what is believed to be a shark," the police said in a statement.
"He was seen floating in shallow water, close to the shore line, and dragged onto the beach, An ambulance was called and he was pronounced dead a short time later," the police said adding that inquiries to further identify the man was still ongoing.
The ABC cited a Beachgoer Mark Hickey, who pulled him from the water, as saying that he initially thought the attack victim was a turtle.
"Then I looked close and there was lot of blood in the water and there was shark circling, and I recognised that it was a person," he told the news channel.
"I ran out to about chest-height in water and grabbed the guy and dragged him into the beach," he said adding: "There was a big gash out of his right leg, above the knee."
This is among a series of other shark attacks that have occurred in Australia's beaches of late. A woman was killed in a similar incident in April as she swam off Tathra beach, also in New South Wales.
The incidents are only likely to intensify the debate over Western Australia government's order to cull sharks. The decision was made following six fatal attacks off the state's beaches in the last three years.
But animal rights activists have been arguing that Sharks do, and must have the right to live.