6 Jun 2016

Second shark attack death in WA in a week

8:55 am on 6 June 2016

A woman has died after being attacked by a shark, reportedly bigger than five metres, off Australia's Perth coast, the second fatal shark attack in the region in a week.

The 60-year-old woman was about 2km offshore of the northern suburb of Mindarie with her regular diving partner, 43, when she was attacked on Sunday morning.

Police said three men on a fishing trip came to the pair's aid, between One and Three Mile Reefs.

They got their boat between the male diver and the shark, so he was able to get back into his own boat, then pull the woman from the water.

It has been reported the woman died before she got back to shore.

The fishermen told police the shark was bigger than their 5.3m long boat.

Inspector Mulligan said the woman's partner had felt "something go past him" while he was diving.

"When he surfaced he saw a commotion in the water and then another boat arrived to pull him out of the water, and then it was noticed that the lady had suffered some severe and fatal injuries," he said.

"The other boat that was in the water got between the male diver and the shark, and he was able to get back into his own boat and he was able to pull the lady from the water."

Australia's Department of Fisheries said it was treating the incident as a fatal shark attack, and said it had set three drum lines in the area to fish for the shark.

Earlier, Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) sent a tweet at 11.35am saying an unknown species of shark had been sighted 1km off Mindarie Beach, and there had been a "possible shark interaction".

Local surfer Matthew MacDonald said the woman's diving partner also appeared to be hurt.

"His hand was like taped up, I didn't think anything else was injured," he said.

The City of Wanneroo has closed beaches either side of the Mindarie boat ramp, south from Claytons Beach and Surf Spot and north to Quinns Beach.

The beaches will remain closed today.

Second fatal shark attack in WA in a week

It is the second fatal shark attack in Western Australia in the space of six days.

On Tuesday, surfer Ben Gerring was attacked by a shark at the surf spot known as Gearies near Mandurah, south of Perth.

The Western Australian man lost his leg in the attack last Tuesday to what was suspected to be a great white shark, south of Perth.

Ben Gerring

Shark attack victim Ben Gerring died late last week. Photo: Supplied / Facebook

Mr Gerring, 29, died in Royal Perth Hospital on Friday night.

The following day a 4.2m shark was caught on a baited hook nearby, although the DoF said it was not possible to tell if the animal was responsible.

Mr Gerring was the 13th person to die from a confirmed shark attack in WA since 2000.

There was renewed debate even before his death and the events off Mindarie about the state government's shark policy, with ministers having elected to place drum lines off Perth beaches in 2013 in response to seven shark deaths.

Premier Colin Barnett last week ruled out a return to permanent drum lines off beaches, but said the government would continue to hunt and trap sharks it believed were a threat to swimmers.

The state opposition said it was opposed to catching and killing sharks.