A shark was shot at 25 times by police and swam away, never to be seen again.
A recent shark attack saw the death of 59 year-old Charles Cernobori on Cable Beach in Broome, Western Australia. The suspected tiger shark attacked Charles when he was bodyboarding in shallow water 30 to 40 metres from shore. After receiving injuries to his arm and thigh Charles was rushed to hospital, but tragically died.
The beast, said to have been around 12-feet long, remained close to the shore for 30 minutes after the attack, prompting police to deal with the threat. With permission from Fisheries, officers used their Glock pistols and opened fire. Firing around 25 bullets, police struck the shark before it swam away, not to be seen again.
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the shark had been swimming in the “reserved zone” at Cable Beach in shallow water. A decision was made by the officers to reduce the risk of further fatalities at the tourist spot.
“I’ve got no difficulty with the decisions that were made by the officers,” he said. “It’s quite different than in other situations.
“The officers did consult first with wildlife and fisheries officers and because the shark was still in the vicinity, it was seen as they needed to make a decision on it, and they did. We have not had any reports on any sighting of the shark since.”
The beach was closed after the fatal attack and reopened within 24 hours by the Shire of Broome. Caravan park owner Ron Beacham said the whole situation was unbelievable. He has lived in Broome 23 years and never heard of an attack.
“Apparently there was one with a pearl diver … years before I came here,” he said. “You think crocodiles in Broome, but not sharks.”
The hunt for the shark continues
Scientists are helping WA Police, with forensic analysis, to help confirm the species. That is according to a spokesperson for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.
“Broome Shire reopened the beaches at 9am. The storms and rain have limited us to land patrols this morning, but we will be back on the water as soon as the weather allows,” he said.
“We are primarily patrolling as a public safety measure, not to ‘look’ for the shark. Public safety is our priority.”
For Troy Ridley, who tried his best to help Mr Cernobri, does not believe it was a tiger shark. Although they are the most common large shark that attacks people, Mr Ridley said he was confident it was a different species.
“Tiger sharks are quite distinctive. I’ve seen a lot of tiger sharks before out diving and fishing, and personally I don’t think it was a tiger shark,” he said. “I really do think it was a bull shark or a bronze whaler.”
Surf Life Saving Western Australia confirmed that the Cable Beach patrolled swimming area was closed three times this year. It was closed twice in July and once in September, due to sightings of unidentified sharks in the two to three-metre size range.