Australian man loses life in shark attack in New Caledonia

A 59-year-old Australian tourist was killed by a shark on Sunday (February 19) near a beach in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia. At the time of his death, the man was swimming close to a pontoon and was 150 metres away from the shore when the shark attacked, said the authorities. The incident took place in the capital Noumea.

Two people who were sailing their boat nearby rushed to help him and brought him back to the beach where emergency services tried to save him. The shark had bitten the man resulting in major bite wounds on his leg and both arms.

He died at the scene despite receiving a 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.

A 49-year-old swimmer was seriously injured by a shark last month, also near the Chateau-Royal beach.

A surfer was also attacked by a shark a few days later but escaped without injury.

New Caledonia lies south of Vanuatu and 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) east of Australia.

(With inputs from agencies)

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