A 17 year old surfer was the third casualty this year and succumbed to his death after a horrific shark attack. The guardian newspaper reports that Laeticia Brouwer died after suffering major blood loss when her left leg was bitten off by a shark, believed to be a great white. Her injuries were so severe that she was already in a critical condition when an ambulance arrived, according to the first paramedic on the scene.
Laeticia’s uncle Steve Evans said the family was “terribly heartbroken and saddened by this tragic accident”.
“We take comfort in the fact that Laeticia died doing something that she loved,” he told reporters in Esperance.
“The ocean was her and her family’s passion. Surfing was something that she treasured doing with her dad and her sisters. Laeticia will be greatly missed by her family, friends and everyone who knew her.
“We take comfort in the fact that she’s now in Heaven with the Lord in eternal peace.” The teen, from the Mandurah suburb of Singleton, was surfing with her dad during an Easter family holiday. She is the third shark attack fatality in WA in less than a year.
Paramedic Paul Gaughan said medical staff tried to stabilise her as best they could. Family members and a nurse who was at the beach performed first aid and applied a tourniquet. “They really gave the young girl every possible chance under such dire circumstances for a positive outcome,” he told reporters. “Unfortunately, in this case the injuries were just too severe.”
She was mauled at the popular surf break Kelp Beds, near Wylie Bay, in Esperance just before 4pm on Monday as her mother and two sisters watched in horror from the beach. Esperance police acting senior sergeant Ben Jeffes said the girl was a competent surfer and denied the terrain made rescue efforts difficult.
“The sand didn’t slow us down or present any unusual problems for this incident,” he said. Fisheries regional manager Russell Adams confirmed drumlines would not be deployed, but denied the beach was a particularly dangerous spot.
“It’s no more dangerous than swimming off Rottnest,” he said. The beach at Wylie Bay remained closed on Tuesday and the Department of Fisheries is conducting beach and water patrols. Surfers and swimmers have been told not to go into the water for at least two days.