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Shark kills woman off Australia's east coast

Missing Swimmer Feared Taken by Shark in Australia

SYDNEY (AP) - A large shark killed a woman near her terrified husband and friends as they took their daily morning swim Thursday off a popular Australian east coast beach, police said.

Christine Armstrong, 63, was taken by the shark as she attempted to swim the 600 meters (1,970 feet) between the wharf and beach near the village of Tathra, 340 kilometers (210 miles) south of Sydney, police said.

The victim was some distance from the other five swimmers, including her husband, Rob Armstrong, when they saw a 3-to-4-meter (10-to-13-foot) shark nearby, said Police Inspector Jason Edmunds.

"The group joined up together and did their best to keep the shark at bay, although it didn't directly attack them," Edmunds told Nine Network television.

The swimmers did not see the attack, but a witness onshore did. Edmunds said the species of the shark was unknown.

The Tathra Wharf to Waves - a swim off a rocky coastline from the wharf to the beach and back again - is an annual event that attracts hundreds of swimmers each summer.

Local council general manager Leanne Barnes said locals meet at the beach every morning to swim out to the wharf and back.

"It's a beautiful little coastal village and this is one of those sad things that can happen," Barnes said.

Armstrong's family said in a statement that she had been swimming at the beach for 14 years and had been a trainer at the local volunteer lifeguard club.

"Swimming brought her much joy and many friends," the statement said. "She will be sadly missed by all who loved her, especially by Rob, her husband of 44 years."

Police said a helicopter and boat were used to search for Armstrong's remains. The fruitless search was called off late Thursday afternoon.

Although sharks are common off Australia's coast, the country has averaged fewer than two fatal attacks per year in recent decades. But fatal attacks are becoming more common. Two men were killed in shark attacks off the east and west coasts in the space of a week in November last year. They were the only fatalities in 2013.

Police on Wednesday recovered remains of a 38-year-old man reported missing last week while diving south of the west coast city of Perth. Police said the remains had shark bites, but it was not clear whether the man had been bitten before or after he died.

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Rob April 03 2014 at 6:20 PM

So, what does a picture of a Dingo on the main page have to do with the story?

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2 replies
Colleen Rob April 03 2014 at 6:36 PM

On my page it states the women was killed by a shark while her husband witnessed it from the beach and then the picture shows a dog standing on the beach. Do they do this stuff on purpose?

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rdz69 Rob April 03 2014 at 8:33 PM

maybe the dingo ate your baby...............!

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jolteontrunks April 03 2014 at 10:35 AM

40,000 people die in America every year due to not wearing seatbelts. 2 die every year in Australia due to sharks. Hmmmm. My condolences to the family.

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captsharky1 April 03 2014 at 10:36 AM

When you swim in an area infested with Great Whites, thats the risk you take.

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Michael April 03 2014 at 10:36 AM

mess with the bull you get the horns, swim with the sharks and you go 10-7 !!!

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2 replies
dsvstheworld Michael April 03 2014 at 10:43 AM

Lemme guess...wanna be cop

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ctshagr Michael April 03 2014 at 10:46 AM

Sooooooo who cares.

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ajenergy April 03 2014 at 10:39 AM

So sad for her husband and friends but why do people across the globe continue to put themselves in harms way?Whether it's hiker's in the desert or mountain climbers in the Rockies this sense of "Rugged Individualism" is fueling stupidity and costing the tax payers.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
tscsandite ajenergy April 03 2014 at 10:48 AM

feel free to spend the rest of your life in front of a computer monitor. I'll take the risk of living a real life outdoors. The **** food everyone eats is more dangerous than swimming in the ocean.

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Blackbird Cycles ajenergy April 03 2014 at 10:49 AM

You must be one of those Low energy, boring, sit on the couch playing vidio games all day, no ambition, lazy, stupid, liberal A-holes that real people with real lives cant stand.

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viovista4me April 03 2014 at 10:41 AM

shark in water............lots of splashing, kicking, slapping in water.......shark get's excited

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MrsJaz April 03 2014 at 10:42 AM

And this is why this chicken only swims in pools. I prefer to see what I am sharing the water with. May she rest in peace. Sad story.

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1 reply
setterly MrsJaz April 03 2014 at 11:28 AM

More people die in swimming pools than by shark attacks .................. over 10 million swim in oceans every year with less than 10 shark attacks your odds are better winning the lottery or getting hit by lightning.

That woman died doing what she loved. Better than dying of a cardiac arrest sitting behind a computer eating doughnuts.

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kvave April 03 2014 at 10:42 AM

Very sad she lost her Life . Not bashing that in any way. However my BIG ? A rocky wharf , near surfline ? This is usually a Fish and Seal MECCA . Both Top Choices for Shark Food ....

And THIS is where they have the annual swim? Sounds like the Shark isnt really the one to blame here. The Ocean is a wonderful thing , but out there a little common sense goes a long way. 9/10 times you are in the water with several , and never know it .

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Carin April 03 2014 at 10:45 AM


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Melek April 03 2014 at 10:45 AM

How horrible! My condolences to the poor lady's family...and may this never happen to the people here cracking jokes about someone's tragedy.

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