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Posted: April 19, 2017

17-year-old surfer dies after shark attack not far from shore

File photo of a surfer on waves
Matt Porteous/Getty Images
File photo of a surfer on waves

By Brianna Chambers, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

AUSTRALIA —

A 17-year-old girl died Monday after being bitten by a shark while she surfed at an Australian beach. 

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Laeticia Brouwer, of Mandurah in Western Australia, was vacationing at Wylie Bay Beach in the town of Esperance with her family for Easter when she went surfing with her father.

While in the ocean, a shark attacked Brouwer, who suffered severe blood loss. Brouwer, who was mauled on her left leg, alerted others by screaming.

Her mother and two younger sisters watched the incident from the beach’s shore. 

Brouwer’s father dragged her unconscious body to shore. A nurse who was on the beach at the time helped perform CPR for 30 minutes until paramedics arrived on the scene, 9News Australia reported. The woman also applied a tourniquet to prevent blood loss, People magazine reported. CPR was ineffective on Brouwer, and she never regained consciousness, according to Perth Now.

According to People magazine, Brouwer and her father were experienced surfers. They were “not a long way off-shore” when the attack occurred, The Australian reported.

“Father and daughter were surfing out at where the waves are breaking, and that’s where the attack occurred,” said Senior Sergeant Ben Jeffes, of the Esperance police. “The father obviously tried everything he could to help his daughter, but sadly, he wasn't able to save her.”

Medics attended to Brouwer on the beach, but she didn’t respond to efforts. She was taken to Esperance Hospital, where she later died.

“You just do what you can, but we were working really against difficult circumstances,” Paul Gaughan, an ambulance worker said, according to The Telegraph. “Her injuries were just too severe. When it’s such a young person with their life ahead of them, it’s just really tragic.” 

Steve Evans, Brouwer’s uncle, said the family is “terribly heartbroken.”

“Laeticia will be greatly missed by her family, friends and everyone who knew her,” he said. “The ocean was her and her family’s passion. Surfing was something that she treasured doing with her dad and her sisters … We can take some comfort that Laeticia died doing something that she loved.”

Officials closed Wylie Bay Beach Monday. 


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