A 16-year-old girl from Western Australia has died after she was attacked by a shark while swimming in a river outside Perth.
It’s the first shark attack death on the Swan River in more than 100 years.
Stella Berry was declared dead on Saturday after being pulled from the Swan River.
She had been riding jet skis with her friends when she jumped into the water to swim with a passing pod of dolphins, according to an official with Western Australia Police.
“This is an extremely traumatic incident for anyone to witness,” Acting Inspector Paul Robinson said in a press briefing, noting that police tried to save Berry’s life but she died at the scene.
Local authorities are still investigating what type of shark was involved in the attack, though the Western Australia Fisheries Minister said it was “likely” a bull shark.
Authorities were called to the scene just before 4 p.m. last Saturday where Berry was pulled from the water with critical injuries, including massive blood loss.
In 2021, a bull shark attacked a local man in his 50s in the same river, CNN reported. The sharks can be occasionally aggressive, experts say.
“The Swan River estuary is good bull shark habitat and this means people can come into close contact with them,” said Andrew Chin, a senior research fellow at James Cook University, told the outlet.
The girl’s parents, Matt and Sophie Berry, released a statement following her death, per the Sydney Morning Herald, describing their daughter as a “caring person and a “dear friend.”
“We are devastated and deeply shocked by the loss of our beautiful daughter who was a vibrant and happy girl with plans of living in Europe after school,” they wrote in part.
“She was a caring person and was a dear friend to many, across a variety of schools in the area,” they said, and added: “She had an infectious laugh which we couldn’t help laughing at too when we heard it.”