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Shark alert! Thousands of swimmers flee water in 'scene straight out of Jaws'

Thousands of bathers fled the sea after a two-metre-long shark was sighted in waters at the world famous Bondi Beach in Australia.

The huge creature, thought to have been a white shark, was spotted by lifeguards on a routine patrol on Sydney's most popular beach on New Year's Day.

In dramatic scenes a shark siren was sounded as patrols scoured the water for the beast thought to be responsible for having taken a chunk out of a lifeguard's surfboard two days earlier.

Bathers who had been enjoying scorching weather on what was a public holiday were told not to enter the water for 30 minutes as officials made sure the area was safe.

Zoe Pruckl, who was visiting from Calgary, tweeted: ‘‘Felt like I was on the set of Jaws today when a shark decided to come make an appearance at Bondi Beach’’.

Another tourist from the US said: "It was really scary. I'm from America and we don't have any kind of shark alarms like that. So, nobody really knew what the loud sound was and then some of the Aussies informed me that it has to do with sharks so that was kind of scary, definitely."

The alarm was lifted after thirty minutes.