Great white shark kills Sydney swimmer in 'chilling' attack, city's first in decades

A swimmer died after a rare shark attack off Sydney, Australia, left the victim with "catastrophic injuries."

"Footage clearly shows a body, half a body being taken by a shark," police said over a scanner on Wednesday afternoon, according to

Witnesses told the news outlet they saw a 14-foot great white shark attacking the unidentified swimmer. A fisherman on the beach told ABC Australia the swimmer was yanked underwater, and the attack lasted several seconds.

“Unfortunately this person had suffered catastrophic injuries and there wasn’t a lot paramedics could do when we arrived,” a NSW Ambulance spokeswoman told

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It is the first fatality from a shark attack in Sydney since 1963, but popular beaches nearby have been closed since the attack, according to ABC Australia. Local police also will be investigating.

“To lose someone to a shark attack like this is chilling," Randwick Mayor Dylan Parker said in a release. "We are all in shock.

“Lifeguards will patrol beaches over the next 24 hours looking for any further sightings of sharks," the Randwick City Council told

In the U.S., there were 47 shark attacks in 2021 and one death, according to the International Shark Attack File, a database compiled by the Florida Museum.

Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymirand

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Shark attack at Australia beach kills swimmer, first in decades