() — A 16-year-old girl was attacked by a shark while swimming in a river in Perth, Western Australia, local authorities said.
The teen was pronounced dead after being pulled from Swan River, affiliate Nine News reported.
“This is an extremely traumatic incident for anyone who witnesses it,” Western Australia Police Inspector Paul Robinson told a news conference.
Robinson said the girl had jumped into the water to swim with a pod of dolphins they had seen nearby.
Police pulled her out of the river and tried to save her life, but she died on the spot, he added.
Official investigations are already underway.
Robinson said it was unknown what type of shark had attacked the girl, but local media reports have speculated it could have been a bull shark, which is commonly found in most Australian rivers.
In 2021, a bull shark attacked a local man in his 50s in the Swan River. He was pulled from the water by witnesses who tried to stop the bleeding from his leg.
While bull sharks are sometimes aggressive, marine experts have reiterated that attacks remain “incredibly rare events.”
“The Swan River estuary is a good habitat for bull sharks and this means that people can come into close contact with them,” said Andrew Chin, principal investigator at James Cook University.
“Unfortunately, some encounters end badly and in this case with tragic results.”
“Bull sharks can be very bold, but it’s also important to remember that these incidents are very, very rare events, (albeit) heartbreaking and traumatic for everyone involved,” he added.
“Everyone should follow their local authorities’ shark and swimmer safety advice (and) also be individually prepared in case the worst happens.”