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Suspected great white shark kills talented teenage surfer in Australia

Khai Cowley was a talented young surfer.

  • In Australia, tributes are pouring in for a teenager killed in a shark attack.
  • Khai Cowley, 15, was fatally mauled by what was suspected to be a great white shark.
  • He has been described as an “outstanding” surfer and “a real club man”.

In Australia, tributes are pouring in for a teenager killed in a shark attack.

Khai Cowley, 15, was fatally mauled in what was likely a great white shark attack on December 28 while surfing off Ethel Beach on the Yorke Peninsula, west of Adelaide , in South Australia.

In a statement on its website, South Australia Police said its officers responded to reports of a shark attack at 1:30 p.m. local time near Ethel Beach in the park. Innes National.

“Sadly, the body of a 15-year-old boy from Maslin Beach was found in the water,” the statement added.

In an Instagram post following the incident, Surfing South Australia said Cowley “was a happy, kind and respectful child” who was “much loved by his surfing peers”.

“He will be greatly missed in our community and on the water,” he added.

Cowley’s surf club, the Seaview Road Boardriders, said in another Instagram post that Cowley was a “remarkable” performer and “a true club man”.

“You will live on in our hearts and memories, once a Roader, always a Roader,” he said.

The owner of a local fishing charter company told ABC Radio Adelaide the incident had shocked people in the area.

“This is what nightmares are made of,” Ryan Valente said. “I have friends in the area who have been here since that day, and speaking with them, even in their memory, they don’t remember anything close to an event like this.”

Cowley’s aunt set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money to cover his funeral costs.

A great white shark in Mexico.
Reinhard Dirscherl/Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

There have been five recorded shark attacks in South Australia in 2023, three of them fatal, ABC News reported.

In November, South African police said they were searching for surfer Todd Gendle, 55, after he was the victim of another suspected attack by a large white male.

The incident occurred near Granites Beach, south of Streaky Bay, further up the west coast, where Cowley was mauled.

In May, Simon Baccanello, a 46-year-old teacher, was fatally attacked while surfing off the coast of Elliston, South Africa.

Trevlyn Smith, head of local emergency services, told News Corp that the surfboard had “a bite in the middle”, the Associated Press reported.

Australia experienced 143 shark attacks between 2012 and 2021, of which 20 proved fatal, according to the Florida Museum International Shark Attack File.

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