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South Pacific

Australian kitesurfer savaged to death in shark attack

There were 98 shark attacks globally last year – the highest number ever recorded.

A SHARK HAS savaged an Australian kitesurfer to death off New Caledonia in the second fatal attack in the South Pacific territory in six months.

Head of the archipelago’s marine rescue coordination centre, Nicolas Renaud, told AFP, ”The man in his 50s was kitesurfing inside the reef at Koumac. He fell and was bitten.”

The unidentified man from Fremantle on Australia’s southwest coast was out with several other people on a catamaran, who raised the alarm.

A rescue boat was sent to help but emergency crews were unable to save him. Renaud added:

He suffered a deep bite to the thigh from a big shark. We don’t know for the moment what species it was.

The last fatal shark attack in New Caledonia, a French territory east of Australia, was in April, when a woman was killed on a beach on Poe in the west of the island group.

There were 98 shark attacks globally last year – the highest number ever recorded, according to researchers at the University of Florida, which has been collecting data since 1958. Six of the attacks were fatal.

Theories on the increase include rising water temperatures caused by climate change making sharks change their habits, the El Nino weather pattern, which was particularly powerful last year, and the increasing popularity of watersports.

© – AFP 2016

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