A bulldog shark attacked a swimmer late Sunday morning on a busy beach in Nouméa, New Caledonia, seriously injuring her hands, thighs and back. Bathing is prohibited on all city beaches until further notice.
The attack happened around 10:30 a.m. less than a hundred meters from the shore of Château Royal Beach, one of the busiest in Noumea. The screams of the swimmer, who was a hundred meters from the edge at the level of the buoys delimiting the swimming area, alerted a stand-up paddler who was able to put the victim back on his board.
More sharks in the first three months of the year
The 49-year-old woman, injured in both hands, thighs and back, was quickly rushed to hospital where she was in serious condition as of Sunday night. The shark was then filmed by several witnesses from the pontoon crossing the swim zone. It is a bulldog shark, a species that can be aggressive towards humans, 3 to 4 meters long.
The municipality immediately banned swimming on all of the city’s beaches, as well as on the islands opposite. In New Caledonia, sharks are more numerous near the shore during the months of January, February and March, the calving season. The risk of attack is also greater after heavy rains such as the area has experienced in recent days.
Shark attacks are more common in deep water, but this isn’t the first time an accident has happened in a busy swimming area. On February 28, 2021, a 57-year-old man died after being bitten by a tiger shark less than fifty meters from the edge of the beach at Îlot Maître, a tourist hotspot in Noumea.