Page last updated at 10:06 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 11:06 UK

Shark kills Australian teenager

Ballina map

A shark has attacked and killed a teenager off Australia's east coast.

Peter Edmonds, 16, was body-boarding with a friend about 50m from shore near the town of Ballina, south of Brisbane, when the shark struck.

He suffered at least two large bites - and died of extreme blood loss despite the efforts of the lifeguards and paramedics who tried to save him.

Shark attacks are not uncommon in Australia, but this the first fatal incident in almost two years.

There about 15 shark attacks a year in Australian waters - one of the highest rates in the world - but on average just one attack each year is fatal.

'Extreme bravery'

The teenager's friend, who paddled back into the sea and tried to save Mr Edmonds, is being treated for shock.

Lifeguard spokesman Stephen Leahy explained how the friend had seen a "large dark shape" in the water.

"[He] went to help him and saw the water turning red next to his friend. He was able to get his friend up onto the beach," Mr Leahy said.

"The boy was dragged up out of the water on to the sand shortly after emergency services arrived. There was nothing that we could do to save that boy's life."

Local police chief Steve Clark said the boy showed extraordinary courage by going back into the water after seeing the shark.

"He has paddled out to his friend and rolled him over and he observed two large bite marks to his left leg," Detective Inspector Clark said.

"The young person has shown extreme bravery in re-entering the water."

All beaches in the Ballina area have now been closed.

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