BRISBANE, Australia: A 21-year-old Australian woman killed at the weekend by as many as three sharks desperately called for help as she was attacked but beachgoers thought she was joking, police said yesterday.
Police yesterday closed popular tourist beaches around North Stradbroke Island, east of the state capital Brisbane, as they hunted up to three sharks believed to be involved in Saturday's attack.
Witnesses told local media that both of the woman's arms were bitten off and she also suffered massive wounds to her legs and torso in Australia's 10th fatal shark attack since 2000.
Police inspector Peter Harding said the woman, from Brisbane, was swimming with three friends from a church group when she was attacked.
"She went down under the water ... after about five or six seconds the deceased came out of the water and screamed, 'Shark!' And of course, people at the time thought she was only joking ... until they saw the blood," he told reporters.
A rescue helicopter airlifted the woman to a Brisbane hospital within minutes of the attack but she died of her injuries late on Saturday.
"She was bleeding quite heavily," Harding said.
"I'm of the opinion (from) what I've seen and what I've been told that there was more than one shark involved there could have been up to three."
Harding said local beaches had been closed as police and fishermen hunted the predators, believed to be bull sharks, which are renowned for their aggressive behaviour during mating season.
"If we found them I suppose we would try to retrieve them and see if they have any body parts," he said. "Realistically it's virtually impossible ... the idea is to retrieve what we can."
In a grim coincidence, the attack took place off Amity Beach, which has the same name as the fictional island setting of the Hollywood man-eating shark classic "Jaws."
Harding said the sharks attacked near a deep-water trench known as Rainbow Channel, which locals usually avoided.
Source: China Daily