Surfer Killed in Shark Attack Off Coast of Popular Tourist Beach in Australia

Warning: The following story contains graphic information. 

A surfer in Australia died following a rare shark attack off the coast of a popular tourist beach that’s been protected by shark netting for decades.

The 46-year-old man was pulled from the surf on Tuesday afternoon after he was bitten by a shark at Greenmount Beach, Queensland Police said.

He suffered a life-threatening leg injury while surfing, and died of his injuries at the scene, police said.

“It was a pretty severe attack and the ambulance and paramedics were here and did what they could, but it was to no avail,” Chief Lifeguard Warren Young told Australia's ABC News.

The attack is thought to be the first near a beach in the city of Gold Coast since 1958, according to the outlet.

“It’s pretty surprising because when you live around here, you just don’t expect things like this at all,” witness Ian Edgehill told ABC News.

Witness Jade Parker also said he came upon the scene, and watched as a group of three people tried to pull the man and his board out of the water.

"He was pretty much already gone by then," Parker told the Brisbane Times. "From the groin to his knee was just — there was nothing there."

In 1962, shark nets were implemented in Gold Coast beaches, the Associated Press reported. The massive nets reportedly stretch 610 feet long and 20 feet deep, and are suspended from floats in the water.

The nets have proven controversial, however, as sharks can swim under and around them, and they’ve also shown themselves to be a danger to marine life, including whales and turtles that have become trapped, according to ABC News.

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