Surfer killed in shark attack off Australia's east coast

Our Foreign Staff
A man died after a shark attack south of the Gold Coast - Getty

A surfer has died after being attacked by a three-metre shark at a popular beach off Australia's east coast, police said on Sunday.

The man was surfing at Kingscliff, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) south of Brisbane, on Sunday morning when the shark mauled his leg.

"Police have been told several board-riders came to his assistance and fought the shark off before the injured man could be helped to shore," police said in a statement.

"He was rendered first aid for serious injuries to his left leg but died at the scene."

Police said the man had not yet been formally identified but was believed to be a 60-year-old from Queensland state.

Nearby beaches were cleared of swimmers and surfers and will remain closed for 24 hours.

Kingscliff resident Stuart Gonsal had just arrived at the beach ready for a surf, when he found out about the fatal attack.

"We came down and we hadn't got in the water and police were immediately hauling people in," Gonsal told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. "We found out there was a fatal shark attack on the south side of the rock wall. We were going to get in, we're not going to now for sure."

The man's death is the third known fatal shark attack in Australia this year.

Australia has one of the world's highest incidences of shark attacks, but fatalities remain rare.

There were 27 attacks but no deaths off Australia last year, according to data from Sydney's Taronga Zoo.