Stella Berry: sign of danger ahead of Perth’s Swan River shark attack

A large shark was sighted in the same section of the Swan River less than 24 hours before Stella Berry was killed, it turns out.

The 16-year-old Shenton College student was fatally ill-treated around 3:30pm on Saturday while she was swimming with friends near the traffic bridge.

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An 8-foot (2.5 m) bull shark, the same species suspected by authorities to have attacked Stella, was sighted at the bridge around 6pm on Friday.

The sighting was not reported to the WA government’s SharkSmart tracker until a day after the teenager’s death.

Several new sightings have surfaced from the Swan River since Stella sustained serious injuries over the weekend.

A bull shark was reported 200m from the sand at Applecross on Tuesday and followed the sighting of a 1m shark, which has yet to be identified by species, at Canning Bridge on Monday.

A third shark was reported just 10m from shore off Shelley Bridge, also on Monday, just days after a bull shark was sighted in the same area.

A bull shark was sighted in North Fremantle less than 24 hours before Stella was seriously injured. Credit: delivered
Talented teenager Stella Berry was killed while swimming on Saturday. Credit: 7NEWS

While sharks and particularly bull sharks are not uncommon in the Swan River, deadly attacks are. The last confirmed fatal attack occurred 100 years ago on January 31, 1923.

13-year-old Scotch College student Charles Robinson had been swimming just yards from the shore of Freshwater Bay when he was killed.

Saturday’s mauling came amid a discussion by another victim of the Swan River shark attack about the need for a shark-protected area.

Cameron Wrathall miraculously survived being attacked by a 3m bull shark just over two years ago near Bicton’s Blackwall Reach.

Last week he spoke publicly about talks with the city of Melville about an enclosure for swimmers “a bit like the barriers they have on the coast.”

Melville Mayor George Gear has confirmed the council is investigating a shark barrier or defense technology on the jetty at Bicton Baths.

Cameron Wrathall is an advocate for a shark barrier in the Swan River. Credit: 7NEWS

Perth fisherman Liam Kenny also made headlines last week after sharing pictures of the half-eaten ray he caught in the Swan River.

The mason told he suspected a bull shark had gotten there before he could finally get it ashore.

Murdoch University’s Adrian Gleiss believed the responsible animal was “most likely” a bull shark, but said he “wouldn’t rule out a bronze whaler”.

Bite marks on Kenny’s pictures suggested the shark was up to 2m long, Dr. tracks.

Liam Kenny’s ray was a meal for a hungry shark. Credit: Liam Kenny

It has since been revealed that Stella was aware of the dangers of the sea and made headlines in a local newspaper with her design of a shark-free sea basin at Cottesloe Beach.

As a 5th grade student, Stella and a classmate were asked to solve a local technical problem.

Their design ensured larger predators, including sharks, were kept out of the pool while smaller sea creatures had minimal impact.

The city of Fremantle on Monday reopened the stretch of river bank where Stella died, although anyone thinking about swimming has been urged to take recent events into account and exercise caution.

Scientific testing will determine what type of shark attacked Stella, although a bull shark is thought to be most likely to blame.

“They inhabit bodies of water in close proximity to us, and that water tends to be dirty, so we may actually be more likely to interact with the shark than any other species because they live in our backyards,” says marine expert dr. Called Johan Gustafson.

Meanwhile, a teenager had a close encounter with a shark near Mandurah on Tuesday when he almost got knocked off his surf ski.

The interaction occurred approximately 150m offshore at Fourth Groyne in Silver Sands just after 7:30am.

The mother of four slammed the unusual names of her children.

The mother of four slammed the unusual names of her children. Stella Berry: sign of danger ahead of Perth’s Swan River shark attack

James Brien

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