HOBART, Australia (TheBlaze/AP) — A woman watched her father being mauled to death by a large shark on Saturday while the pair were diving off the Australian island state of Tasmania, police said.
The adult woman had returned to their boat with scallops that the pair had collected then became concerned that her father, in his late 40s, had not surfaced after her, Inspector David Wiss told reporters in the state capital of Hobart.
"His daughter became worried and went down and checked on her father," Wiss said. "She saw a very large shark. She saw her father being attacked by the shark."
The woman, who is in her 20s, according to the Australian Associated Press, got back aboard their boat and used a flare to call for help, Agence France-Presse reported.
After other boats arrived, a number of people helped pull the man to the surface using his air hose, "but unfortunately he was fatally injured," Wiss told the AFP.
Tasmanian Scallop Association president John Hammond said the area — off Tasmania's east coast — isn't known for sharks.
"Absolute tragedy for the family," he told national radio, AFP said. "It just struck out of the blue ..."
[sharequote align="center"]"It just struck out of the blue ..."[/sharequote]
The attack occurred not far from where a 15-foot-long great white shark was seen Friday, government ranger Peter Lingard told The Examiner newspaper.
Saturday's attack occurred as Australian professional surfer Mick Fanning made his first return to the water since he fought off a large shark during a World Surf League competition in South Africa last weekend.
The three-time world champion went surfing alone at his hometown of Tweed Heads, 430 miles north of Sydney. He had contemplated giving up the sport after he was knocked off his board by a large shark at Jeffreys Bay. That attack was televised live around the world. He survived unscathed.
Fatal sharks attacks are rare off Australia's beaches, with an average of fewer than two per year in recent decades.
The last fatal shark attack off the Australian coast occurred in February, when Japanese tourist Tadashi Nakahara, 41, lost both his legs to a great white shark 10 to 13 feet long while surfing at Ballina, 1,000 miles north of the scene of Saturday's attack.
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