Pamela Cooke, 64 — a regular visitor of the area who "swam in the sea every morning" — was identified as the victim of the attack, who was mauled at the popular beach spot just before 8am on Monday. Beachport is some 300 kilometres southeast of Adelaide.
Police said the Ms Cooke "was helped out of the water and given first aid by bystanders until paramedics arrived", who administered first aid at the scene. She was then taken to Mount Gambier Hospital, where she is now in a stable condition.
Victim was a daily ocean swimmer at Beachport
It's understood Ms Cooke, well-known among locals, suffered "serious" injuries to both her legs and was swimming "with a group near the Beachport Jetty" at the time of the attack. A local business owner who spoke to The Advertiser said she'd been an ocean swimmer for two decades.
“She goes swimming every morning without fail… she’s swam every day for 20 years, except once, without fail,” he said.
SES South Australia is preparing to launch drones to locate and identify the shark, which is believed to be a juvenile great white.
“Our crews have been requested to assist South Australian police with a drone search,” an SES spokesman said. “We’ve got two crews currently there at the moment and we are just waiting for our flight plans to be approved so our pilots can put our drones up.”
Online, Beachport residents shared their shock over the tragedy, which is believed to be the first major shark incident in the area for many decades.
"This is the first shark attack I've heard reported for Beachport in my 68 years — "we" always said it was too cold for sharks that would attack. I sincerely hope the victim is OK," a concerned local wrote on a community Facebook page.
"There have been a lot of reported sightings of sharks over the years but yes, I cannot recall any attacks."
"Just heard of the shark attack on radio — hope she will recover quickly. First time I’ve heard of an attack in my life," another said.
Locals have been urged to avoid the water as authorities investigate.
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