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Shark Kills Diver Off Australian Coast

  • Associated Press

FILE - A large shark fatally attacked a male diver along the Tasmanian coast July 25, 2015. This Discovery Channel image shows a great white, the type spotted a day earlier near the attack site.

FILE - A large shark fatally attacked a male diver along the Tasmanian coast July 25, 2015. This Discovery Channel image shows a great white, the type spotted a day earlier near the attack site.

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 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 attack happened off the east coast near where a great white shark was seen on Friday, government ranger Peter Lingard told The Examiner newspaper. It stretched an estimated 4 meters (15 feet).

The last fatal attack off the Australian coast occurred in February.

Japanese tourist Tadashi Nakahara, 41, lost both his legs to a great white shark measuring 3 to 4 meters (10 to 13 feet). He was surfing at Ballina, 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) north of the scene of Saturday's attack.

Surfing champion Mick Fanning of Australia, who survived a shark attack, reacts at a news conference in Sydney, July 21, 2015.

Surfing champion Mick Fanning of Australia, who survived a shark attack, reacts at a news conference in Sydney, July 21, 2015.

Professional surfer

Saturday's shark 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, which lies 700 kilometers (430 miles) north of Sydney.

Fanning 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.

"First surf back. Feels so good," Fanning wrote under a silhouetted photo of himself looking out to the ocean, which he posted on Instagram.

Sharks are common off Australia's beaches, but fatal attacks are rare. The country has averaged fewer than two deadly attacks per year in recent decades.

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