ANIMALS

Great white kills American in Australia

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - A great white shark killed an American diver Saturday in the second fatal shark attack off Western Australia state in 12 days and fourth in a little over a year.

A great white shark (Photo courtesy Hermanusbackpackers via Flickr)

A witness on a dive boat saw "a large amount of bubbles" before the 32-year-old man surfaced with obviously fatal injuries, Western Australia Police Sgt. Gerry Cassidy said.

Two people on the boat described the shark as a 10-foot great white, Cassidy said.

The shark struck 500 yards  north of the picturesque tourist haven of Rottnest Island, which is 11 miles from a popular Perth city mainland beach where a 64-year-old swimmer is believed to have been taken by a great white on Oct. 10.

The American was living in Perth on a work visa. Police would not release his identity or hometown.

Authorities cannot say whether he was killed by the same shark that is believed to have taken Bryn Martin as he made his regular morning swim from Perth's premier Cottesloe Beach toward a buoy about 380 yards offshore.

But an analysis of Martin's torn swimming trunks recovered from the seabed near the buoy pointed to a great white shark being the culprit. No other trace of Martin has been found.

"It's a cloudy old day today which is the same as we had the other day with Cottesloe, and they're the conditions that sharks love," Cassidy said.

It is the third fatal shark attack off Western Australia in less than two months and the fourth in 14 months. Fatal shark attacks average fewer than two a year nationwide.

Premier Colin Barnett, the leader of the state government, said the shark will be hunted and killed if possible.

He said fisheries officers will spread bait in the area of the attack to try to catch the shark.

Great whites can grow to more than 20 feet in length and 5,000 pounds in weight. They are protected in Australia, a primary location for the species.

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