A woman diver has been killed at Mindarie after being attacked by a shark that witnesses described as being longer than their 5.5-metre boat.
WA Police’s Inspector Danny Mulligan revealed on Sunday afternoon that the 60-year-old woman, who was mauled late on Sunday morning, had been with a male diver partner between One and Three-Mile Reefs.
The 43-year-old man said he thought he felt something in the water and surfaced, where he found the woman with severe injuries – apparently as the result of a shark attack.
Three men in another boat arrived to assist and said they saw the shark and positioned the boat between the creature and the man, enabling him to lift the woman onto the boat the pair were using.
“The boat the three fishermen were on was five-and-a-half metres long and they said the shark was longer than their boat,” said the Inspector.
Female great whites have been known to grow to bigger than six metres.
The woman’s death came just two days after Mandurah surfer Ben Gerring succumbed to injuries he sustained in a shark attack last week.
St John Ambulance personnel attended the Mindarie scene but found the woman to be dead after she had been lifted onto a boat ramp.
Seven News Perth reporter Kate Smithers told Radio 6PR just before 1pm Sunday that few other details had been available, with people at the scene not being aware of what happened.
“She was diving just off the boat ramp. There is an ambulance here but unfortunately she couldn’t be revived,” she said.
“Nobody here that I’ve spoken to about it has seen or heard anything. When I’m telling them it’s the first they’ve heard of it.”
Mr Gerring died on Friday night, three days after he was attacked at a popular surfing spot at Falcon Beach on Tuesday.
The diver’s death takes the number of shark attack deaths in WA to 15 since 2000.
Surf Life Saving WA had tweeted about a shark spotted offshore at Mindarie only 20 minutes before the woman was apparently attacked.
Quick, quick, I’ve got to get home … the premiere of Secret City is about to air … who are these idiots running across Commonwealth Avenue Bridge .. get out of the way … ahh, maybe not so close to the railing there dude .. you didn’t have to jump into the lake to avoid me .. what’s going on?
Secret City is what’s going on, Foxtel’s latest Showcase mini-series shot here in town and inspired by the books by political journalist Chris Uhlmann and Steve Lewis (I’ve known Chris for 25 years, worked with him on my first night here at The Canberra Times). He knows how to tell a good story, this is going to be good.
First up, though, we detour to Beijing, “Free Tibet, free Tibet”, some young woman is yelling and then, whoops, she sets herself on fire. Six months later we’re on the Bridge, a guy swallows a SIM card and jumps into the lake.
Now we’re in the bedroom of an unknown woman, she must be a journalist because she’s 30 something and still gets the actual paper delivered. Or is she, because next thing she’s rowing on the lake, on a clear Canberra day. Show me a journalist who’s out of bed at 6am and rowing on the lake.
She notices some action on the lake’s edge. A body, a couple of cop cars. She glances over her shoulder, back to Parliament House. There’s obviously a connection. Maybe a public servant who decided it might be easier to swim to work rather than find a car park in the Parliamentary Triangle.
She was a journalist, Harriet Dunkley, she’s at work now, discussing the news of the day with more journalists than I’ve seen in a newsroom in Canberra for years. Political spills, the burning girl, and then she finds a mysterious photograph on her desk. Last mysterious thing on my desk was a coffee mug full of mould.
Now we’re at the Big House. Parliament House in all its glory. Looks quite schmick from above. A very serious meeting about defence matters. Military action, governments on high alert, submarines, Beijing v the United States, a defence minister who isn’t paying attention to the guys and girls in uniform who are giving him advice.
And that pretty much sums up the plot of Secret City. But let’s face it, for most of us, this will be about where in town things have been filmed so we’re going to play spotto now. Let’s go.
Spotto. Parkes Way. Can someone tell me if it really is the morgue?
But who is this manly looking woman monitoring Harriet’s phone calls?
Spotto. Lovely aerial shot of Capitol Hill and the City. Very pretty.
Spotto. Now Harriet’s meeting the monitoring woman by the lake, nice view back to Black Mountain Tower. They obviously know each other and have a past. Someone’s watching them too.
Spotto. Is that Julie Bishop? Or Julia Gillard? Or Bronwyn Bishop? Or some weird genetic amalgam of all three. No, it’s Jackie Weaver. Vote 1 Jackie.
Spotto. Back to the Bridge. Hang on, is that my car in the background?
Spotto. A fabulous house which is where? Can anyone help?
Spotto. Gandel Hall at the National Gallery of Australia. Good scene, “So how are you finding Canberra, Ambassador?”, ask defence minister Mal. “Cold.” Cold. There’s a drinking game to be had here.
Spotto. University Avenue, back to Bruce Hall. Harriet’s on her way to Llewellyn Hall. She’s starting to put two and two together, the burning girl and the jumping man knew each other.
Spotto. It might have something to do with the Chinese Embassy. She’s there now. Can you actually get into that place? Harriet’s asking probing questions. Again, someone’s watching her.
Another secret meeting by the lake. It’s night. Glittering lights.
Another fabulous house. Where is this one? Help please.
Couple of sex scenes. This can’t be Canberra. Harriet’s fella has his lap top on his well balanced thighs. They’re hacking some ANU records, feeling lonely and desperate.
And then bang, another dead body near the lake. Bang, back to parliament house. Bang, back to some interrogation room at the Chinese Embassy, bang to the morgue.
LABOR has accused the Coalition of taking money from the federal health budget to fund a commitment to treat ice addiction in Tasmania.
Liberal federal MP for Braddon Brett Whiteley yesterday announced $5.69 million as part of the Coalition’s “plan to combat the scourge of ice in our communities”.
“This money will provide much-needed services to people in our region that are grappling with ice addiction and substance misuse,” he said.
“It’s so important that we back local health and service providers that are tackling this problem head-on.”
The funding is part of the response to the Federal Government’s National Ice Taskforce report handed down in December last year.
But federal Labor MP for Franklin Julie Collins said the money was being funded from cuts to priority health areas.
“It is a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul and Brett Whiteley knows it,” she said.
“Short of tackling the scourge of ice, the Liberals’ cuts and mismanagement have led to a funding crisis in the treatment services sector.”
Ms Collins said the Coalition had cut nearly $1 billion from the Health Flexible Funds, which includes support for alcohol and illicit drug rehabilitation. But she was unable to say how much Labor would commit to the problem.
A Coalition spokesperson said drug surveys showed use of ice doubled under Labor between 2010 and 2013.
“The Coalition’s $300 million package is new money and is in addition to Federal drug and alcohol treatment funding, which was not cut in any way,’’ the spokesperson said.
It is unclear how much of the $5.69 million would go to treating ice addiction.
A VICIOUS bikie gang’s attempted expansion into Tasmania’s reputed ice heartland could stir violence between rival clubs, an expert says.
Tasmania Police revealed last week the feud-prone Bandidos were attempting to establish themselves in the state.
Local and federal police recently swooped on three Bandidos associates at Devonport Airport, allegedly finding them with ice, cocaine and a stolen motorbike.
“They are not considered fully patched Bandidos members but do display their allegiance to this gang,” Assistant Commissioner Glenn Frame said.
“Our intervention is a significant disruption to their plans.”
Former detective Terry Goldsworthy, an assistant professor at Bond University, said any violence depended on what kind of bikie landscape the Bandidos were rolling into.
“Where are they moving into would be the question. Are they moving into areas that have been colonised by the gangs?’’ Dr Goldsworthy said.
“If they are moving into those areas there’d certainly be friction.”
According to Tasmania Police, there are more than 250 bikies and associates across five organised gangs – the Rebels, the Outlaws, the Black Uhlans, Satans Riders and Devils Henchmen. There are 16 bikie gang clubhouses.
The three Bandidos associates arrested at the airport lived in the North-West, suggesting that is where the gang intends on making its mark. If that is the case they will rub shoulders with Tasmania’s most notorious bikies.
The Rebels, the Outlaws and the Black Uhlans have been expanding operations in the North-West.
Mr Frame suggested drugs were the motivation for the Bandidos’ planned incursion.
“Outlaw motorcycle clubs are always trying to expand their criminal organisation and use their business model to increase their profit from illegal activities,” he said.
“Australia’s profitable markets for illicit goods, in particular illicit drugs, drive OMCGs [outlaw motorcycle gangs] to these illegal activities.”
Dr Goldsworthy agreed a move to Tasmania was more likely to be criminal intent than a lifestyle change.
“If you’re looking at people who are going there to commit criminal activity, what markets are there, what type of drug usage problems have they got?” he said.
“Is there a market they can break into and will it be possible for them? [That] would be the underpinning things for those that are coming there for a criminal enterprise purpose.”
Ice or methamphetamine in the North-West has grabbed national attention in recent years.
In 2014 Rural Health Tasmania chief executive Robert Waterman said he had seen a 10-fold increase in the use of ice in the region. He said one in 10 people were addicted to the drug in Smithton.
The region’s ice problem featured in a Four Corners expose and on 7.30 on ABC-TV.
A subsequent government report found ice use in the North-West was rising but it equated to similar increases elsewhere across the country and was not an epidemic.
The Bandidos first came to national attention in the early 1980s after a massacre on the outskirts of Sydney.
The club was formed by a bunch of disgruntled Comancheros who had jumped ship.
When the newly formed Bandidos – who received the nod of approval from the club’s US president – and Comancheros encountered each other in the carpark of a Sydney pub it resulted in the country’s deadliest bikie confrontation.
The Milperra massacre, carried out in broad daylight on a Father’s Day, left six bikies dead along with bystander Leanne Walters, aged 14.
The Bandidos have maintained their penchant for violence over the years.
“The Bandidos [on the Gold Coast] are one of the gangs with a high level of criminality,” Dr Goldsworthy said.
“The statistics would tell us they are one of the groups that commit more of the crime when you’re talking about bikies.”
Mr Frame said Bandidos and other OMCGs “were not welcome here at all”.
“While the possibility of violence can’t be discounted, we are confident our efforts will reduce this possibility,” he said.
Law enforcement like to portray OMCGs as the manifestation of evil while bikies would prefer the community to see them as gruff blokes who deliver soft toys to sick kids.
Dr Goldsworthy said the truth was in the middle.
“Anyone who says all bikies are criminals, well the statistics say that is not the case,” he said.
“The police do try to portray them as all criminals. The converse is the bikes say, ‘we are just like a rowing club’. Well clearly they’re not.”
Dr Goldsworthy said that in Queensland about 40 per cent of bikies had criminal records in 2014.
He said the gangs were not specifically embroiled in organised crime, it was select individuals within the group.
“They have a criminal element. Some of them don’t commit crime, they just go there for the image,” he said.
“There are others who go there to use that brand for criminal purposes.”
Mr Frame said Tasmanian bikies had proven links to mainland OMCG chapters and international crime syndicates involved in the manufacture, distribution and trafficking of illicit drugs and firearms.
“We will continue to hold them to account,” he said.
PAT BILLINGS, ALEX LUTRELL, HELEN KEMPTON, NICK CLARK, BRUCE MOUNSTER The Mercury
UPDATE 11.45am: BRUTAL weather has forced TasRail to suspended all train operations as a precautionary measure.
TasRail CEO Damien White said the disruption to customers was regrettable, but the safe operation of rail services was paramount.
“While heavy rain is continuing to fall across the state, the rail network appears to be withstanding the flood conditions reasonably well, but there are a number of areas, particularly on the North-West Coast where water levels are a concern,” he aid.
UPDATE 11.30am: TasNetworks has reported that 3640 home are now without power, down from the 4200 reported at 9am.
UPDATE 11.25am: RACT Insurance has urged Tasmanian policyholders to get in touch if they are affected by severe weather and flooding.
“We have ensured our local claims staff and services are positioned and ready to respond if required,” RACT Insurance CEO Trent Sayers said.
UPDATE 11.20am: Tasmania’s wild weather, which is causing flooding in the northern half of the state, is extremely unusual, weather experts say.
Forecaster Anna Forrest said she hasn’t seen anything like in two decades at the Bureau of Meteorology.
“Particularly not this time of year. It’s not typical in winter,” she said.
A damaging surf warning remains in place for the entire East Coast
“And you could see inundation especially around river mouths,” she said.
The wild surf is been driven by weather flows from NSW, which is causing large swells and significant wave heights that are expected to last until tomorrow.
The heavy surf is threatening damage and coastal erosion for the East Coast from the northern tip of Flinders Island to Tasman Island. The BOM warns beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas. Effects are likely to be exacerbated by high tides, expected between 10pm and 11pm at St Helens, and around 9pm for the lower East Coast.
UPDATE 11.10am: THE Latrobe Council is bussing residents to an evacuation centre in East Devonport as flood waters continue to rise.
The council is pleading with residents to obey signage and not to drive through flooded roads.
In nearby Forth, State Emegency Service personnel wait anxiously to see if three shipping containers rushing down the river head towards Traffic Bridge.
Authorities fear the bridge will be damaged by the pressure of the impact.
Water is more than a metre deep on the road leading to Wilmot with a strong current and the area is closed to both cars and foot traffic.
UPDATE 11.05am: Locals near the Mt Field National Park have told the Mercurythat the Tyenna River is rising due to heavy rain and could break its banks.