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Australia: Bryn Martin Feared Shark Attack Victim

Shark Attack

By KRISTEN GELINEAU   10/10/11 11:30 PM ET   AP

SYDNEY -- Australian officials were hunting Tuesday for any sign of a 64-year-old man who authorities believe was attacked by a great white shark off a popular west coast beach.

Bryn Martin, who regularly swam in the turquoise waters off the city of Perth's Cottesloe Beach, vanished Monday while swimming toward a buoy about 380 yards (350 meters) offshore. Police divers later found Martin's torn swimming trunks on the sea bed near the buoy, Western Australia Police Senior Sgt. Denise Grant said.

"There were a number of fabric tears to those briefs and our information on a preliminary examination was that the tearing was consistent with that of about a 3-meter (10-foot) great white shark," Grant told reporters at Cottesloe Beach on Tuesday.

The search effort had moved from a rescue to a recovery operation following the grim analysis, Police Sgt. Gerry Cassidy said.

"We've got to be honest ... obviously, the likelihood of finding him alive is virtually nil," Cassidy told The Associated Press.

Murky water in the area where Martin disappeared was keeping divers out of the water early Tuesday due to the difficulty of spotting any shark that might be roaming nearby, Cassidy said. The beach remained closed, though a few people ignored the warnings and went swimming anyway.

Martin's son, Alistair Martin, said his father was an experienced swimmer who spent a lot of time in the water.

"He loved his morning swim and was aware and accepted the risks associated with ocean activities," he told reporters on Cottesloe Beach. "Yesterday, we received news that any family would dread and hopefully today will bring the closure we need."

Cottesloe Beach is beloved by Perth residents and visitors for its powdery sand, pine trees and clear water. But it has been rattled by shark attacks before. In 2000, Perth businessman Ken Crew was killed in front of hundreds of horrified beachgoers while wading in knee-deep water off Cottesloe. Officials believe the culprit was a 13-foot (four-meter) great white shark.

Australia's last fatal shark attack was in April, when a surfer lost both legs off another beach south of Perth.

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Filed by Clare Richardson  |