Lifeguards raced to save an Australian tourist after he was viciously attacked by a shark Sunday off the coast of New Caledonia, according to multiple reports and publicized footage of the incident.
The 59-year-old man was swimming about 150 meters from a jetty in Nouméa, New Caledonia, at around 4:00 p.m. local time Sunday when he was suddenly and viciously attacked by what authorities believe to be a four-meter (13-foot) tiger shark, news.com.au reported.
“I was on the beach and was like probably 50 meters away and I saw it. It was very fast, like in 10 seconds he was gone,” witness Amael Gicquel told 9 News Australia.
Lifeguards raced to help the man, pulling him out of the water and onto a jet ski, but the injuries he sustained to his arms and legs were far too extensive, a paramedic told 9 News Australia. Despite life-saving measures, the man was pronounced dead not long after reaching the shore, according to news.com.au. (RELATED: Diver Reportedly Decapitated By Great White Shark In Mexico)
Horrible footage captured the confronting attempted rescue of an Australian man attacked by a shark in New Caledonia.https://t.co/W38nxSHBjo
— news.com.au (@newscomauHQ) February 21, 2023
“It happened so close to shore, the poor victim was face down in the water when the jet-ski got to him,” a Hotel Chateau Royal guest told Daily Mail. “There was blood everywhere, we could see it from the beach. So many people were in the water at the same time and they’d only reopened the beach a few days ago.”
The beach in Noumea had been closed until three days prior to the incident, after another shark attack Jan. 29 left 49-year-old teacher Bridgette Do without a hand and part of her leg, according to 9 News Australia and news.com.au.
Lance and Jane Rae witnessed Do’s attack, news.com.au reported. As a man on a paddle board brought Do to shore, the shark reportedly began circling them in the water.
“I could see the shark was coming in, and it was really big, so I said to one of police ‘Shoot the shark’, but he wouldn’t,” Lance told the outlet. “I said, ‘Give me your gun and I’ll do it’ … it kept coming in and I just couldn’t believe how big it was, but he wouldn’t shoot it.”
The jetty close to where Do and the unnamed Australian tourist were attacked is located near the viewing platform of a local restaurant, where patrons toss food into the ocean to attract fish, according to news.com.au. The shark in Sunday’s attack may have been attracted to those waters because of the prospect of food, the outlet reported.
Nouméa Mayor Sonia Lagarde ordered most beaches in the area to close and called for tiger and bull sharks lurking in nearby waters to be captured, according to a separate report from news.com.au.
Investigators are looking into the circumstances of Sunday’s attack, which occurred inside an area tended to by lifeguards, the outlet reported.