Great white threat closes beaches

Authorities in Australia have closed the beaches in the city of Newcastle for the past five days after successive sightings of a deadly 4.5m, 1.7-ton great white shark – the largest ever seen in the region.

The local council in the city, which is about 160km north of Sydney, said the shark was of “a size that has not been seen before around Newcastle”.

The beaches will be shut for a sixth straight day today – a record for the area – and will not be reopened until there is a 24-hour period without a sighting. “We ask for everyone’s cooperation in remaining out of the water at our beaches until lifeguards are satisfied that the shark has moved out of area waters,” the council said.

Australia has had a spate of serious shark attacks in recent years, mainly on the west coast.

Lifeguards around Newcastle, which has a population of about 550 000, have been working extra hours and conducting additional patrols on jet skis.

Despite the warnings, beachgoers have continued to enter the water to swim and surf.

– Jonathan Pearlman, The Telegraph

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