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Tuesday, 26 September, 2000, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Sharks kill two surfers
great white
It's unusual to have two fatal attacks in one year
Two surfers have been killed by sharks off the coast of South Australia in attacks on two consecutive days - the first time this has happened in more than 20 years.

An Australian teenager was attacked on Monday a day after a New Zealander was killed by a great white while on his honeymoon.

The New Zealander, Cameron Bayes, was dragged off his board 50m from shore while surfing at Cactus Beach, about 200km (124 miles) west of Elliston.


Witnesses described the shark as approximately four to five metres in length.

Mr Bayes was on a six-month honeymoon with his wife, who is said to be in hospital suffering from severe shock.

A witness told how Mr Bayes had clambered back onto his board after being knocked off by the shark. But he was dragged under again just moments later.

"I didn't see [the shark] again until [it was] about 400 metres offshore. He came to the surface and spat the board out, thrashed around, and then just went under and was gone," the witness added.

Unusual

In the second attack, police said a 17-year-old youth was mauled by a shark while surfing about 50m off Black Point, 5km north of Elliston on Monday. The teenager has not been named.

The remains of Mr Bayes's surfboard
The remains of Mr Bayes's surfboard
Police are still searching for the bodies of both victims.

Shark experts said this was the first time in 23 years there had been two fatal attacks in the same state in one year.

But they did not think the same shark was behind both attacks.

Poked in the eyes

On average, one person a year is killed by sharks in Australia, although there were two in 1999.

"It is very unusual to have two fatal shark attacks in one year let alone two days and on the same stretch of coast," John West from the Australian Shark Attack File told Reuters

"But I don't think it will be the same shark. The attacks were too far apart."

The attack at Cactus Beach was the second in the area this year.

Anthony Hayes was mauled by a three-metre shark in February.

Mr Hayes survived because his friend, Steve Thomas, poked the shark in the eyes until it let go.

Locals said that great whites, a protected species, were a regular sight in the area around Cactus Beach because they fed off salmon in the area.

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See also:

15 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Sharks used to deter immigrants
19 Apr 00 | Sci/Tech
Further shark controls rejected
22 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Boy survives crocodile attack
02 Jan 99 | Asia-Pacific
Australia's fatal attractions
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