SYDNEY -- A 15-year-old surfer died Saturday when he was mauled by a shark, the second fatal attack in a week in Australia and already at least the fifth this year.
Police said the boy was surfing at Wooli Beach, near Grafton, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) north of Sydney in New South Wales state just before 2:30 p.m. when he was attacked. The shark attack left him with severe injuries to his legs.
Several surfers came to the aid of the boy and helped him to shore for medical attention. Despite CPR efforts to revive him, he died at the scene.
Police initially said the victim was 17, but later corrected his age to 15.
Jim Simmons, mayor of Clarence Valley shire, said visitors had flocked to the region for the school holidays and there would likely have been many people in the water.
“What’s happened there this afternoon would shake everybody,” Simmons said. “It’s terribly shocking. All of our sympathies, from people in the area, go out to the boy’s family."
It's unusual for Australia to have five fatal shark attacks in the first six months of a year. On average, three people die from shark attacks each year in the country, according to figures kept by the Australian Shark Attack File. The last time there were five fatal attacks in an entire year was 2014.
Last Saturday, a 20-year-old scuba diver who was spear fishing died after being attacked by a shark off the coast of Australia’s Queensland state. The man was attacked near Indian Head on the eastern side of Fraser Island.
That attack happened not far from where 23-year-old Queensland wildlife ranger Zachary Robba was fatally mauled by a great white shark in April.
A 57-year-old diver was killed off Western Australia state in January, and a 60-year-old surfer was killed off Kingscliff in New South Wales state in June.