Teen killed in shark attack in Aussie river identified as Year 11 student
The 16-year-old girl killed in an 'extremely traumatic' shark attack in Western Australia has been identified.
Stella Berry, a Year 11 student at Shenton College, died after jumping in the Swan River to swim with dolphins near the Fremantle Traffic Bridge on Saturday.
The teenager had been jet skiing with friends before she was mauled at around 3.30pm, sustaining severe leg injuries.
Paramedics were called but Stella was confirmed dead at the scene just before 6pm.
In an email sent to parents at Shenton College, Principal Michael Morgan expressed his sympathy to the student's family.
"It is with great sadness, sincere empathy and the deepest regret that I write to inform you that Stella Berry (Year 11) … tragically lost her life on Saturday 4th February in an incident at the river in North Fremantle," Mr Morgan wrote in the email, according to ABC News.
"I have personally offered, on behalf of the college, our condolences and support to Stella's family during this very sad time."
First fatal attack in 100 years
WA Police Acting Fremantle District Inspector Paul Robinson told reporters a shark attack at this part of the river was "unusual".
"What we're being advised is she was with friends on the river, they were on jet skis and possibly a pod of dolphins were seen nearby and the young female jumped in to swim nearby the dolphins," Robinson said.
"It's an extremely traumatic event for everyone involved and everyone who knew the young girl, so I won't be going into the extent of the injuries.
"It is unusual for a shark to be that far down the river, at this point in time an alert has been put out, a shark warning just to let people know this incident has taken place."
The teen's death is believed to be the first fatal shark attack in the Swam River in 100 years, after a 13-year-old boy was killed in January 1923.
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Bull shark believed to be behind attack
Experts believe the shark involved in the attack was likely a bull shark, but say while the animals are one of the most aggressive species, fatal attacks are rare.
" It is believed to be a (bull shark)," Dr Vanessa Pirotta told Weekend Today. "Authorities will look for images and try and best assess what this animal was and then provide guidance and information to the general public."
Dr Daryl McPhee, Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Bond University, told Yahoo News Australia bull sharks are "opportunistic" hunters.
"Bull sharks are opportunistic predators and as well as eating fish and stingrays are also known to consume mammals that enter the water including cattle, horses and dogs," he said.
"[They] are one of the few shark species that can persist for long periods of time in freshwater."
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