Australia: Search called off for swimmer attacked by shark at Port Beach

·2-min read

Police in Western Australia have called off a search for a swimmer attacked by a shark.

Paul Millachip, 57, was swimming at Port Beach near Fremantle on Saturday morning when he was attacked by what appeared to be a four-and-a-half-metre (15-foot) great white shark.

The search was called off on Sunday afternoon, local time, with searchers saying that only a pair of googles had been found and these had been swabbed for testing.

In comments reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corp, Mr Millachip's wife, who asked not to be named, said he had been a "lovely man and a great father".

Thanking the agencies involved in the search, she said: "We've been through in quite a lot of detail what they've been doing and how the search has panned out, and they've been extremely thorough and extremely professional, and we're really, really grateful for that."

She also thanked a number of teenagers who were in a dinghy nearby when her husband, a father of two, was attacked.

The teenagers had witnessed the attack, called emergency services, and urged other swimmers to get out of the water.

Mrs Millachip said: "A special mention to those young lads in the boat for what they did in what must have been an absolutely terrifying experience for them, so my heart goes out to them and I thank them for what they did.

"Thank goodness no one else was injured. They could potentially have saved other lives."

The attack happened on the anniversary of another shark attack that claimed the life of local swimmer Ken Crew off Cottesloe Beach in 2000.

There have been 17 shark attacks in Australia this year, two of them fatal, according to the Taronga Conservation Society, an Australian government agency in charge of several zoological parks.

Compared with other countries, Australia has one of the highest numbers of unprovoked shark encounters with humans, ranking second behind the US in 2019, the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File shows.

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