THE shark that killed a girl was reportedly sighted 24 hours before the fatal attack – and the missed warning might have cost the teen her life.
Stella Berry, 16, was killed by a shark when she went swimming with friends in the Swan River, Perth on Saturday. The first fatality in the river for 100 years.
4Stella Berry lost her life in a shark attack on February 4 in North Fremantle, Perth4Emergency services were unable to save the teen, who was pronounced dead on the sceneCredit: 10 News First4An alleged sighting of the shark in the hours before Stella’s death was reported too lateCredit: 10 News FirstAn 8ft bull shark, like the one responsible for Stella’s death, was spotted near to the traffic bridge where she was killed less than 24 hours before, 7News reported.
Crucially, the sighting was only reported to the Western Australian Government’s SharkSmart tracker after the 16-year-old’s tragic death.
The teen had been jet skiing with friends on Saturday around 3.30pm local time when she spotted a pod of dolphins and jumped into the water to swim with them.
The shark allegedly then appeared from the murky river waters and dragged her under the surface as terrified friends watched on.
A male onlooker was reported to have bravely jumped in and pulled her out of the water.
Police and paramedics rushed to the scene but she was too badly wounded to be saved.
Tributes across Australia have been pouring in for the schoolgirl, with friends explaining that her death “doesn’t feel real”.
The teenager’s parents Sophie and Matt Berry have appealed for “space and time we need to grieve our darling girl”.
“We are devastated and deeply shocked by the loss of our beautiful daughter Stella,” they said.
“We want to acknowledge the amazing support we have received from our family, friends, authorities and the WA community.”
Fremantle District Acting Inspector Paul Robinson said: “It’s an extremely traumatic event for everyone involved and obviously, anyone that knew the young girl.”
Robinson added it was “unusual” for a shark to be so far down river, which flows from Perth into the Indian Ocean.
Bull sharks are not uncommon in rivers, however the last fatal attack in Swan River in North Fremantle took place in 1923, when a 13-year-old boy was killed.
Near-misses have occurred in recent years, including Cameron Wrathall who amazingly escaped from a bull shark attack with only a leg injury.
The father-of-two has been campaigning for better safety measures, including a shark barrier.
The Fisheries Minister, Don Punch, said on Sunday: “There’s only been six recorded historical attacks in the river, and this would make it seven.”
However, he said that they would look into new measures, including shark barriers to protect swimming areas.
As the news of the prior-sighting of the vicious beast came to light, another shark was spotted off a busy beach in Dongara, Western Australia on Tuesday.
Footage shows the terrifying moment a massive shark stalked swimmers in the shallow waters.
People then begin to scream and shout “shark!” and “get out the water” as the beast lurks close to the bathers.
The species of the shark has yet to be confirmed, however experts have said that the size, shape and fin could suggest it is a Great White.
Numerous other sightings of sharks have been reported across Western Australia following Stella’s death as people are on high-alert.
4Beachgoers screamed as the spotted what could be a Great White shark swimming amongst them in Dongara
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk