The man was bodyboarding about 100 to 130 feet from the shore of Cable Beach, a popular tourist spot along the Indian Ocean, when he was bitten around 8:40 a.m., police said.
Authorities pulled the victim, who was not immediately identified, from the water with serious injuries. Police and responding paramedics treated him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.
“It’s a tragic incident, very unexpected, a person going out to have a bit of fun in the water,” Kimberley District Office Police Inspector Gene Pears told reporters.
Police shot at the shark after seeing it linger close to the shore for almost a half-hour after the attack, they said. The species of shark could not be immediately confirmed, though locals suspected it was a tiger shark drawn to the shore by fish.
“There’s been a lot of fish schools very close to the shore. The bait was everywhere ― big schools of mackerel and tuna ― and, unfortunately, where there are big fish, even bigger ones follow,” local businessman Daryl Roberson told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Authorities ordered the beaches closed until Monday morning, according to the local government’s shark mitigation program, SharkSmart.
The death comes a little more than a month after a shark reportedly killed a man surfing along Australia’s southeastern coast in Western Australia.
Companions saw the 60-year-old man pulled from his surfboard near the town of Esperance. Authorities never found his body.
Australia’s current death toll from sharks is the highest since 1929, when nine people died, The Associated Press reported.