The shark that killed a 59-year-old Australian tourist may have been attracted to the crowded beach by food tossed into the water from a nearby restaurant’s viewing platform.
The man was killed on Sunday in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia, authorities said, while swimming close to a pontoon about 150 metres from the beach in Noumea.
He was reportedly bitten several times before being brought to shore where emergency services tried to save him.
The jetty is close by to a restaurant where guests and staff throw food into the water off a viewing platform — known locally as a “feeding platform” because it is used to feed fish and often attracts sharks.
The beach had only reopened to the public three days earlier after a 49-year-old teacher lost her leg in a shark attack there on January 29.
A few days later, a shark reportedly charged at a man on a hydrofoil but he made a lucky escape.
In the wake of both incidents, locals were surprised the beach was reopened, with some saying they felt it should have stayed closed.
Shocking footage taken of Sunday’s attack appears to show splashing in the water near the pontoon – just metres away from other swimmers.
The man killed, who has yet to be identified, was understood to have been to have been travelling alone and was staying at nearby Le Meridien Hotel.
“It happened so close to shore, the poor victim was face down in the water when the jet ski got to him,” a guest at nearby Hotel Chateau Royal told Daily Mail Australia.
“There was blood everywhere, we could see it from the beach. So many people were in the water at the same time and they’d only reopened the beach a few days ago.”
An employee of the hotel said locals were nervous following the incidents and argued “something has to be done’.
The beach was closed immediately after Sunday’s incident and has not been reopened.
The man had major bite wounds in his leg and both arms, local prosecutor Yves Dupas told AFP.
He died at the scene despite receiving cardiac massage.
Many people were in the water at the time and witnessed the incident at the Chateau-Royal beach just south of Noumea.
There was a panicked rush back onto the beach and police evacuated the area. Noumea’s mayor, Sonia Lagarde, ordered the closure of most beaches in the area and the capture of tiger sharks and bull sharks in nearby waters.
Drones were deployed to track them and two were sighted before operations were suspended at nightfall, police said.
The prosecutor said an investigation would shed more light on the circumstances of the attack, which happened inside the zone watched over by lifeguards.
New Caledonia lies south of Vanuatu and 1,200 kilometres east of Australia.
It ranks 13th in the world for the total number of shark attacks, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History, which has kept a tally of worldwide shark attacks since 1958.
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