SYDNEY (The Blaze/AP) — A shark bit the legs off a bodyboarder at a popular surfing spot in western Australia on Sunday, killing the man, police said. Authorities were searching for the shark as well as the man's missing limbs.
The man in his early 20s was bodyboarding with five friends when the shark attacked, a police spokesman said.
According to the Daily Mail, the shark grabbed the man from the waist down and bit him in two:
Kurt Morris, who was having lunch at the Bunker Bay Cafe with his family when chaos erupted on the beach, said he had been told by the man's friends that he had been torn apart.
"They were saying they were just two meters away from him," he said. "From the waist down, it was all gone."
Another witness said, "They pulled him out of the water and there was a lot of blood on the beach. There was just no hope, he was cut in half."
The police spokesman confirmed the lower half of the man's body had been ripped away.
"He was bodyboarding with about four or five of his mates when he was taken out of the group," the spokesman said. "He's lost the lower half of his body and he's deceased."
It happened at the surfing haven known as The Farm, off Bunker Bay near the western town of Dunsborough. The shark likely thought the man was a seal, authorities said. The beach was closed after the attack.
About 30 surfers were in the water at the time of the attack, according to beachside cafe employee Deb Pickett, who called police and an ambulance after hearing the disturbance.
"We had some sharks spotted far out at sea a few months ago, but they never come this close to the shore," Pickett said.
She said helicopters were still searching the area for the shark late Sunday, while rescue staff searched for the man's limbs, which she believed had been taken by the shark.
Local official Ian Stubbs said it was the first shark attack in the area in more than 20 years.