Swimmers flee at popular Aussie beach as shark enters shallows

Three incidences have been reported around the country in less than a week.

Beachgoers at a popular Aussie hotspot were sent running from the water in fear Tuesday as a shark was spotted swimming in the shallows, at the same time as another popular lake was closed over a similar sighting.

Swimmers enjoying the ocean at Cylinder Beach, on Queensland's North Stradbroke Island, were abruptly interrupted yesterday after a dusky shark made its way to shore just after 10am, entering the shallows between the red and yellow flags and forcing lifeguards to close the beach.

The popular beach was packed to the brim as families and tourists alike soaked up the sun, but they were all forced to watch from the shore until the animal retreated.

People watch on at Cylinder Beach on North Stradbroke as shark sits in shallows.
Cylinder Beach on North Stradbroke Island was slammed shut yesterday after a dusky shark was spotted in the shallows. Source: Nine/7News.

Multiple shark sightings in the space of a week

Queensland Surf Lifesaver Mitch Yates paddled alongside the shark, guiding it back out out to the deep, estimating the dusky whaler was between four to five feet long.

“It’s just easier and quicker and the shark was much smaller than the board, it wasn’t interested in the board, probably wasn’t interested in the people either, it’s just looking for some little fish to nibble on,” he told Nine. He said shark incidences are common on North Stradbroke but it is rare for them to come so close to the shore.

Meanwhile, the popular Lake Alexander in Darwin was shut yesterday after a member of the public spotted a shark in the depths, NT News reported. A City of Darwin spokesperson said the lake would remain closed as officials scour the swimming spot in search for the animal, which, if found, will be "caught and released back into the ocean".

Sign showing Lake Alexander is closed.
Lake Alexander is closed to the public following a suspected shark sighting. Source: NT News

“City of Darwin will work closely with NT Fisheries to investigate the matter and the public will be advised when the lake is reopened,” the spokesperson said.

“In the meantime, the lake remains closed and is not to be used for any water activities.”

Diver almost killed at Great Barrier Reef

The two shark incidences come after a 21-year-old man nearly lost his life just days ago at the Great Barrier Reef, having been mauled last Thursday at Clack Island — a remote stretch of sea about halfway between Cairns and the tip of the Cape York Peninsula.

It's understood the man was diving for sea cucumbers at the time and only survived thanks to the quick-thinking actions of his companions, who ushered him back to the boat and applied a tourniquet. He suffered deep puncture wounds to his bicep and shoulder and was flown to Cairns Base Hospital, where he was later hospitalised.

Shark victim in helicopter to hospital.
A diver was mauled by a shark on the Great Barrier Reef last week. Source: Nine.

Active time for sharks on Aussie shores

For most parts of the country, between September through to early December is when sharks are most active, due to an increase in fish migrating through coastal waters.

The US and Australia recorded the most unprovoked shark attacks around the globe in 2022, according to the International Shark Attack File, with 41 occurring in the states — mostly in Florida — and nine recorded in Australia. That was down from 12 in 2021.

While shark incidents attract a lot of attention in Australia, experts continue to remind the public they are still very rare.

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