April 18, 2017 / 6:39 AM / 4 months ago

Teenage girl killed in Australia shark attack

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A 17-year-old girl has died after being attacked by a shark as she surfed with her father off the Australian coast.

Laeticia Brouwer was on holiday in Esperance, a tourist town on Australia's west coast, when she went for an afternoon surf on Monday at nearby Wylie Bay, while her mother and siblings watched from the beach.

"Father and daughter were out surfing where the waves were breaking and that is when the attack occurred. He brought her to shore," West Australian police acting senior sergeant Ben Jeffes said.

Paramedics said Brouwer's injuries and blood loss were too severe for her to survive.

"We can take some comfort that Laeticia died doing something that she loved," a family spokesman Steve Evans told a news conference.

"The ocean was her and her family’s passion. Surfing was something that she treasured doing with her dad and her sisters."

The Kelp Beds break, which is popular with surfers and sits off the unpatrolled Wylie Bay beach, was also where a 23-year-old man lost part of both his arms in a non-fatal shark attack in 2014.

Brouwer's death is the first fatal shark attack in Australia this year after two fatal attacks last year, both in Western Australia, according to a database.

Australia ranks behind only the United States in the number of unprovoked shark encounters with humans last year, the International Shark Attack File of the University of Florida shows.

It is testing wider use of shark nets at the country's beaches while surfers are being drawn to new technology like board implants and wet suits that repel sharks.

Authorities have closed Wylie Beach for the next 48 hours. Brouwer's broken surfboard was being examined to try determine the species of the shark that attacker her, media reported.

Reporting by Benjamin Weir; Editing by Jane Wardell and Robert Birsel

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