11/05/2000 Dirk Avery ( Australia )

Shark Attack Survivors News Archive for Shark Attacks in 2000.
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11/05/2000 Dirk Avery ( Australia )

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Shark attack! One man is dead and another badly injured after the first fatal shark attack in the Perth area for more than 30 years.


Perth Australia,

Shark attack! One man is dead and another badly injured after the first fatal shark attack in the Perth area for more than 30 years.

The patrons at the Blue Duck cafe overlooking Perth's Cottesloe Beach were drinking coffee and having breakfast as the early morning swimmers splashed about just off shore.

Kim Gamble, owner of the cafe - a favourite spot of the city's business and political elite - was doing his paperwork on the balcony.

Suddenly, as he and his customers watched in horror, a five-metre white pointer shark ploughed into a group of swimmers, tearing one man's leg off and leaving him to die, and then chasing one of his companions towards the beach.

"From the balcony I could see this huge shark - it was really huge," a shaken Mr Gamble said soon after the attack. "There was a whole sea of blood and it was pulling the person."

The first victim, 49-year-old Ken Crew, of Mosman Park, died soon after the shark savaged him in shallow water about 25 metres from the beach.

The white pointer then charged at one of his friends, Fremantle lawyer Mr Dirk Avery, who was only 10 metres from the shore when attacked.

"The shark went for this guy's legs," a witness told Perth radio. "The guy tried to push off the shark, walking backwards towards the shore quite slowly, pushing at the shark, and he made it to the shore's edge.

"His legs were totally bleeding, he looked like a cheese-grater with huge one-inch holes in his feet."

A passerby, Mr John Sims, rushed into the water and tried to fight off the shark. He then helped a surf lifesaver paddle a wave ski out to Mr Crew and drag him to shore. The lifesaver tried to resuscitate the father of three on the beach, but he died from loss of blood.

Ambulance officers later treated the lifesaver for shock along with an elderly woman who suffered a minor heart attack as the mayhem unfolded.

Both victims were members of an informal swimming club for middle-aged, well-to-do local residents known as The Pod, which meets at Cottesloe Beach every morning.

Ms Di McCusker, wife of the prominent barrister and Rothwells investigator Mr Malcolm McCusker, QC, was swimming with the group when the shark attacked about 6.30am.

"All of a sudden I heard this yelling and screaming and looked back and there was all this blood in the water," she said.

Mrs McCusker and her husband were hailed as heroes almost exactly three years ago when they paddled their wave ski out into the surf off Cottesloe Beach to rescue two shark attack victims.

The West Australian Fisheries Department immediately ordered the closure of beaches in the Perth area as five boats, three helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft scoured the coastline for the shark.

A news helicopter spotted what was believed to be the white pointer about 10am, just 500 metres north of Cottesloe Beach.

With hundreds of people watching from the shore, boats followed the shark into deeper water for about an hour before it disappeared.

A shark expert with the Fisheries Department, Dr Jim Penn, said authorities were reluctant to kill the white pointer, which is a protected species, and would prefer to drive it back out to sea.

He said it was highly unlikely that the shark would attack a human again.

Yesterday's tragedy was the first fatal shark attack in the Perth area for more than 30 years. But, coming as it does just two months after two fatal attacks in South Australia, it has sent a shiver through beachgoers as the swimming season begins.

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