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Man 'killed by shark' in Australia

A man has been killed in an apparent shark attack at the popular tourist destination of Byron Bay on the Australian east coast, officials said.

An emergency phone call to the ambulance service was made this morning to report that the man, in his 40s ,"had a very serious bite to his leg suspected to be from a shark", ambulance spokeswoman Jackie Levett said.

Ms Levett said he was pulled from the water at Clarkes Beach where he was treated by a doctor, but he was pronounced dead.

Police confirmed in a statement that he was "bitten on the right leg by what is believed to be a shark".

"He was seen floating in shallow water, close to the shore line, and dragged on to the beach," the statement added.

Police had yet to identify the man or establish what he had been doing in the water. Local media reported he was believed to have been surfing alone.

Byron Bay is a renowned surfing location near Cape Byron, the most easterly point of the Australian mainland 500 miles (800km) north of Sydney.

The death is the first blamed on a shark in Australia since April 3 when a 63-year-old woman was taken by a 10-13ft shark as she took her daily ocean swim near the village of Tathra, 210 miles (340km) south of Sydney.

Although sharks are common off Australia's coast, the country has averaged fewer than two fatal attacks per year in recent decades.

But fatal attacks are becoming more common. Two men were killed in shark attacks off the east and west coasts in the space of a week in November last year. They were the only fatalities in 2013.

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