A SURFER has been killed in a shark attack north of Lancelin this morning.
Police have not yet released the name of the victim, who is the fifth person to die from a shark attack in Western Australia since September last year.
A friend of the deceased surfer is believed to have witnessed the attack.
Water Police and the Department of Fisheries are now searching for the man’s body.
The attack happened about 4 km south of Wedge Island about 9am.
Tony Cappelluti from the Fisheries Department said the victim was with a friend when attacked by what was believed to be a great white shark.
“The two people were in the water surfing or waiting for a wave when the victim was attacked by a shark,” he said.
It is believed that the two men were about 40 or 50 metres off the beach at the time of attack.
Mr Cappelluti said two other surfers, one on a jet ski and the other being towed came over to help when they saw a commotion in the water.
He said the man’s friend and the others surfers were not in a position to help and went back to shore and contacted the police.
“No body has been recovered but from eyewitness accounts we presume he has been killed.”
Mr Cappellutti said there were no further details about the actual attack but the victim was believed to have suffered serious injuries.
He said it had taken place near a very remote section of the beach and he was not sure if anyone was on the beach at the time.
Mr Cappelluti said the victim’s friend was believed to be “very distressed.”
Shire of Dandaragan president Shane Love said the thoughts of the community were with the victim’s family and friends.
“I think anytime this sort of thing happens it’s a shock to coastal communities who love to go in the water and enjoy it, it’s very sad,” he said.
Mr Love said while there were not many people who lived in the shacks at Wedge Island, which is about 160km north of Perth, the wider community of people who visited regularly was much larger.
Police from Jurien Bay are attending the incident and the beach where the incident took place is currently closed.
Lancelin local, Michael Balcombe who has been fishing in the area for about 45 years said he often saw big sharks in the area including tiger sharks and bronze whalers.
"You always see sharks if you're fishing around here," he said.
Mr Balcombe said considering the attack took place 4 km south of Wedge Island, it may have been at a popular surfing area called Didi Bay.
Today's attack is the second fatal shark attack in Western Australia this year.
In March, Busselton man Peter Kurmann was attacked while diving with his brother.