Sydney: A swimmer died after a rare suspected stingray attack off an Australian beach while another two people were mauled in separate shark encounters this weekend. The 42-year-old’s death came more than a decade after world-renowned “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin was killed when a stingray barb punctured his chest while he was filming on the famed Great Barrier Reef. The man was in waters off Lauderdale Beach some 23 kilometres from Hobart in the southern island state of Tasmania on Saturday when he “sustained a puncture wound to his lower abdomen… possibly inflicted by a marine animal”, police said.
He was brought onto the beach by friends but suffered a heart attack and was unable to be resuscitated, police added. “It’s consistent with (a stingray injury) but further investigation and examination of the deceased may be able to give a bit more of a concrete fact on that,” Tasmania Police Senior Constable Brett Bowering told the Sunday Tasmanian. “It’s a pretty traumatic incident to see.” Commonly found in tropical waters, stingrays rarely attack humans but their barbs, at the end of their tails, are coated in toxic venom which they use to defend themselves when threatened.
In the first shark attack of the weekend, a man taking part in a surf lesson off the east coast suffered serious cuts after an encounter on Saturday. The 24-year-old was wading waist-deep in waters off Seven Mile Beach some 130 kilometres south of Sydney when he “felt a forceful lashing motion against his legs”, New South Wales Ambulance said. He had “significant cuts and haemorrhage as well as several puncture wounds to his wetsuit and right leg… and cuts to his hand”, NSW Ambulance duty operations manager Inspector Emery told reporters. That attack was followed by another on Sunday off the north coast, when a teenage boy was bitten on his arm and leg while spearfishing, police said. — AFP