A 15-year-old surfer died on Saturday after a reported shark attack. Mani Hart-Deville, a resident of the small coastal village Minnie Water in Australia, was in the water off Wooli Beach, which is a noted shark "hotspot." ABC News reports that he suffered a serious injury from a bite to the upper thigh and later died from his injuries.
Witnesses told police that a shark attacked Hart-Deville just before 2:30 p.m. local time. He was surfing at Wilsons Headland off Wooli Beach. Several other riders came to his assistance and pulled him back to shore. NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) later confirmed that it was a great white shark that attacked the teenager.
"Several board-riders came to his assistance before the injured teen could be helped to shore," said New South Wales Police Force in a statement. "First aid was rendered for serious injuries to his legs and despite CPR efforts to revive him, the 15-year-old died at the scene." Authorities also closed beaches in the area, including Wooli, Diggers Camp and Minnie Water.
The Clarence Valley Council, home to Minnie Water, released a statement after the fatal incident. "Minnie Water is a small, close-knit village and the communities of Minnie Water and Wooli will be hurting. We will be doing all we can to support the community through the shock and grief," the council said.
Hart-Deville was a student at South Grafton High School, which posted a tribute to him on Facebook. The school provided resources and mental health hotlines for parents while the children remain at home for the holidays. Once they return to school, South Grafton will provide support.
"We have received some sad news about a member of our school community," the school said in its statement. "One of our Year 10 students died suddenly and tragically. Our thoughts and heartfelt sympathy are with the student's family and friends. If you or someone you know needs help there is support available. Some young people may prefer to talk to someone they don’t know about how they are feeling."
The beaches are not patrolled this time of year, per ABC News, but they will now remain closed following the attack. Authorities will work to capture and release any sharks that may be in the area. Coffs-Clarence Police District Chief Inspector Joanne Reid also said that authorities will reassess the state of the beaches on a day-by-day basis. According to Yahoo! News, this is the fifth shark-related fatality in Australia this year.