A man has been killed in a shark attack at a popular beach on the southern Gold Coast this afternoon.
Emergency crews were called to Greenmount Beach in Coolangatta just after 5.00pm, following reports a man had been bitten on the leg by a shark.
The man, understood to be aged in his 50s, is believed to have been surfing at the netted beach when he was attacked.
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He was brought to shore by lifesavers before being treated at the scene by paramedics for critical injuries.
Queensland Ambulance Acting Senior Operations Supervisor William Houghton says the man could not be saved.
“The surf life savers were quickly on scene and with the assistance of fellow surfers they’ve attempted to render first aid and help with the extrication of the gentleman up to the shore line.
“Queensland Ambulance arrived within a couple of minutes and unfortunately the gentleman has passed away from his injuries.”
Mr Houghton says the scene was ‘pretty chaotic’ when paramedics arrived.
“There was a lot of bystanders and Queensland Ambulance Service would like to thank both the first-aiders and surf lifesavers for the tremendous job they did.
“Bystanders were obviously shaken up, it was a pretty traumatic event for everyone concerned.”
Speaking from the scene, Hot Tomato surf reporter Reg told 1029 Hot Tomato’s Moyra, Mal and Baggs the incident is believed to have been the first fatal shark attack at the beach in decades.
“Terrible situation down here at the beach this afternoon, I don’t think there’s been a shark attack in Greenmount since the early 80s,” he told the Gold Coast radio station.
“We have been very lucky here on the Gold Coast because of all the drum lines and the netting… but this afternoon, tragically, a boarder has passed away.”
LISTEN: Hot Tomato surf reporter Reg discusses this afternoon’s fatal shark attack at Greenmount Beach with Moyra, Mal and Baggs:
Gold Coast Chief Lifeguard Warren Young says the tragedy has rocked everyone.
“The guy who was surfing nearby said it was just so quick, you know it was a pretty big go at him the shark had,” Mr Young told Network Ten.
“It just goes to show how vulnerable you are when you’re surfing.”
Witness Jade Parker was among the first on the scene, but says there was little they could do.
“We got him onto the sand there was a lifeguard four-wheel drive there already and they had a stretcher so we put him on the stretcher but he was pretty much already gone,” Mr Parker told Seven News.
All beaches from the border to Burleigh will be shut on Wednesday.
Lifeguards will be out patrolling on jet skis while the Westpac Rescue Helicopter will also be in the air.
“Like every Gold Coaster tonight, I am both shocked and saddened to learn of this terrible tragedy,” Mayor Tom Tate said.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the surfer’s family and friends.”
It is the first fatal shark attack at a Gold Coast beach since 1958, when 21-year-old Peter Spronk was attacked while swimming at Surfers Paradise.