Bodyboarder Bitten In Half By Shark In Oz

Jonathan Samuels, Australia correspondent
Bodyboarder Bitten In Half By Shark In Oz

A shark has killed a bodyboarder in Australia after snatching him away from a group of friends and biting off the lower half of his body.

Police said the man, aged in his early 20s, was paddling at Sugar Loaf Rock off Bunker Bay - a popular tourist spot on the country's west coast.

The shark attacked the man at around 1pm local time, on Sunday.

The water was full of people when the man was killed, PerthNow website quoted Bunkers Beach Cafe manager Hamish McLeay as saying.

"There is a big seal colony around the corner, he might have been mistaken for one of them," Mr McLeay said.

Mr McLeay said he had managed the cafe for six years but was unaware of a previous major shark attack in the area.

The victim was apparently from the nearby area, which is about a three-hour drive south of Perth.

Sharks are a common feature in Australian waters, but fatal attacks are rare.

There were 24 recorded deaths in the 20 years up to June 2009 - which is an average of 1.2 shark-related deaths per year, according to official figures.

The death at Sugar Loaf Rock is the first fatal shark attack in the country since February, when a man was savaged off the South Australia coast , and only the fourth since December 2008.

All but one of those attacks were off the west coast.