Beaches off the popular family retreat Wedge Island in Western Australia were closed this weekend after a surfer was reportedly bitten in half by a great white shark.
Benjamin Charles Linden, the 24-year-old victim, was surfing with a friend on Saturday morning when he was attacked and killed.
"There was blood everywhere and a massive, massive white shark circling the body," Matt Holmes, a witness who was jet skiing nearby at the time of the attack, told Sky News. “I reached to grab the body and the shark came at me on the jet ski and tried to knock me off."
Holmes said that Linden's body was cut in half.
According to the Examiner, locals have nicknamed the large shark Brutus. Witnesses have described Brutus as being between 16 and 24-feet long.
The Western Australia Department of Fisheries set up baited traps near the attack site in an attempt to catch the shark, according to the Australian. A helicopter and boat search was also launched in an effort to recover the body, but it has not been found.
Although the gruesome incident was the fifth deadly shark attack reported off the coast of Western Australia in the past 10 months, some local surfers aren't likely to be deterred.
"Once you are a surfer -- and only a surfer knows the feeling -- we cannot stop surfing. We are addicted," surfing competition organizer Peter Dunn told Fox News, calling the attack a "tragic loss."
According to the International Shark Attack File, there were 12 deaths from unprovoked shark attacks around the world in 2011. But although shark attacks often make news, some activists point out that humans are a greater threat to sharks than sharks are to humans.
A statement by the File's director, George Burgess, estimated that 30 to 70 million sharks are killed in fisheries each year. Shark populations face danger from finning, bycatch and fishing pressure, according to advocacy group Oceana.
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