Tourists holidaying in the Australian state of Queensland have been warned to stay out of the water by authorities who fear a giant six metre-long shark might be prowling the coast.
Concerns were raised after a 3m great white shark was found dead with two huge bites taken out of its body. Experts believe the bites were made by an even larger predatory fish.
Swimmers have been warned to stay out of the waters off Stradbroke Island, north of Brisbane.
“It certainly opened up my eyes. I mean the shark that was caught is a substantial shark in itself,” Jeff Krause of Queensland Fisheries told the Sydney Daily Telegraph.
Surfers have reacted to the news of the shark attack with shock.
“Whatever attacked and took chunks out of this big shark must be massive,” said Ashton Smith, 19. “I’ve heard about the big one that’s lurking out there somewhere.
“We’re all being very, very cautious.”
Australia is entering summer, a period of the year when shark attacks on humans increase because of the higher number of swimmers in the ocean.
The country’s most popular beaches are protected by nets and what are known as drumlines – a series of baited hooks that hang from buoys placed in a line about 500 yards from the shore. However, neither guarantee that sharks cannot get through.
Since the net and drumline programme was introduced in Queensland there has been only one fatal attack on a protected beach.