A police boat patrols the Swan River in the Perth suburb of Fremantle, on Saturday, February 4, 2023, after a teenage girl was killed by a shark.
A 16-year-old girl has been attacked and killed by a shark while swimming in a river in Perth, Western Australia, local authorities said.
The teenager was pronounced dead after being pulled from Swan River, CNN affiliate Nine News reported.
“This is an extremely traumatic incident for anyone to witness,” Inspector Paul Robinson from Western Australia Police told a press briefing.
Robinson said the girl had jumped into the water to swim with a pod of dolphins that had been spotted nearby.
Police had pulled her from the river and tried to save her life but she died at the scene, he added.
Official investigations are now underway.
Robinson said it was not year clear what type of shark had attacked the girl, but local media reports have speculated that it could have been a bull shark – commonly found in most rivers around Australia.
In 2021, a bull shark attacked a local man in his 50s in Swan River. He was pulled from the water by witnesses who tried to stem the bleeding from his leg.
While bull sharks are sometimes aggressive, marine experts have reiterated that attacks are still “incredibly rare events.”
“The Swan River estuary is good bull shark habitat and this means people can come into close contact with them,” said Andrew Chin, a senior research fellow at James Cook University.
“Unfortunately some encounters end badly and in this case with tragic results.”
“Bull sharks can be very bold but it is also important to remember that these incidents are very, very rare events – (though) heartbreaking and traumatizing for everyone involved,” he added.
“Everyone should follow swimmer and shark safety advice from their local authorities (and) also be individually prepared in case the worst happens.”