Australian authorities are searching Thursday for the huge white shark that killed a man last Wednesday afternoon at Little Bay beach in southern Sydney, in the first deadly attack in Australia’s most populous city for nearly 60 years.
Following this tragic incident, local authorities on Thursday closed dozens of beaches, from Bondi, one of the most popular among tourists, to Cronulla, in the southern end of the city, on a day in which temperatures exceeded 30 degrees in Sydney.
The authorities also activated an intensive search and capture operation along some 25 kilometers of coastline by sea and air, with helicopters and drones, to capture the shark, at the same time as they set up six special computerized traps.
New South Wales state fisheries minister Dugald Saunders, who described Wednesday’s fatal attack as a “devastating incident,” admitted that it could be difficult to find the shark because of its abilities to move around.
“It’s a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack, but we’ve seen sharks travel great distances,” Saunders told Sky News television.
The great white shark, estimated to be between 3 and 5 meters long, attacked an unidentified man swimming off Little Beach in an incident that was captured on video by a witness.
First deadly shark attack in Sydney since 1963
On Wednesday afternoon, authorities managed to recover the remains of the man, who is the first fatal victim of a shark attack in Sydney since January 28, 1963 when Australian actress Marcia Hathaway died from bull shark bites in Sugarloaf Bay.
Last year there were 18 shark attacks in Australia, of which three were fatal, while in 2020 there were 26 attacks, with 8 fatalities.
The great white, which can measure up to 5.5 meters in length and feeds on fish and other species such as rays, marine mammals, crustaceans and seabirds, gained worldwide fame as a killer in the 1970s with the movie “Jaws” directed by Steven Spielberg.
According to studies by the government scientific agency CSIRO in early 2018, there are about 2,210 adult white sharks off the coast of Australia, which, although considered the most dangerous, are included in the international lists of endangered species.