Australian tourist dies in shark attack at crowded Noumea beach

Shark kills Australian tourist in Noumea

An Australian man has died in a shark attack in front of onlookers at a crowded beach in New Caledonia.

The 59-year-old man was reportedly swimming close to a pontoon about 150 metres from Chateau Royal beach, just south of the French Pacific territory’s capital Noumea, on Sunday when he was attacked.

The AFP news agency said the man had major bite wounds to one of his legs and both arms.

Local prosecutor Yves Dupas told AFP that two people sailing a boat nearby rushed him back to the shore, where emergency services gave aid. But he died at the scene.

australia shark attack

Chateau-Royal is a popular swimming beach just south of Noumea. Image: Google Maps

Chateau Royal beach was reportedly packed at the time, and there were many witnesses to Sunday’s attack. Police evacuated the beach after a mass rush from the waters to the beach.

Paramedic Vincent Ouradou told TV channel Nouvelle Caledonie 1ere that the man was bitten three times on his right leg and both arms and rescuers spent about 40 minutes trying to save him.

New Caledonia’s Southern Province president Sonia Backes told the same TV channel her thoughts were with the man’s family and those who witnessed the incident.

“There were young children who were shocked by what they saw,” she said.

After the attack, the beach was closed and authorities ordered the capture of bull sharks and tiger sharks in cages. Drones were also deployed.

The BBC reported it was the third shark attack near the Chateau Royal beach in three weeks.

A 49-year-old swimmer was seriously injured by a shark in the area on 29 January, and a surfer was also attacked a few days later.

New Caledonia is a popular holiday destination 1200 kilometres east of Australia.

It is home to 270,000 people and, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History, ranks 13th in the world for the number of shark attacks.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been contacted for comment.

-with AAP

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