SYDNEY – A shark killed a woman Thursday as she swam with a group of swimmers off a popular Australian east coast beach, police said.
Christine Armstrong, 63, was taken as she attempted to swim the 600 meters (2,970 feet) between the wharf and beach near the village of Tathra, 340 kilometers (210 miles) south of Sydney, police said in a statement.
The Thathra Wharf to Waves — a swim from the wharf to the beach and back again — is an annual event that attracts hundreds of swimmers each summer.
Local council general manager Leanne Barnes said the victim was part of a group of locals who meet at the beach every morning to swim out to the wharf and back.
"It's a beautiful little coastal village and this is one of those sad things that can happen," Barnes said.
Police said a helicopter and boat were being used to search for remains. No details of the species of shark were released.
Although sharks are common off Australia's coast, the country has averaged fewer than two fatal attacks per year in recent decades. But fatal attacks are becoming more common. Two men were killed in shark attacks off the east and west coasts in the space of a week in November last year. They were the only fatalities for 2013.
Police on Wednesday recovered remains of a 38-year-old man reported missing last week while diving south of the west coast city of Perth. Police said a statement that the remains had shark bites, but it was not clear whether he had been bitten before or after he died.