Man killed by shark at WA's Cable Beach

Broome's Cable Beach has been closed to the public.
Broome's Cable Beach has been closed to the public.

A man has been killed by a large shark at Broome's popular Cable Beach in Western Australia's north, with a couple who dragged him from the water unable to save his life.

The man, a Broome local aged in his 50s, was bodyboarding 30 to 40 metres offshore on Sunday morning when he was attacked.

He was recovered from the water and treated by local police before St John Ambulance officers arrived but was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said a couple on the beach had seen the man thrashing in the water, dragged him onto the sand and called for an ambulance.

"We commend them for their actions," Inspector Gene Pears told reporters.

"Obviously that would have been pretty horrific for those people. It was very brave to enter the water and do what they did."

Police fired shots at the shark, which remained very close to the shore for about half an hour and is yet to be found.

Its species is not yet known, with the water described as being "very murky", but Insp. Pears said it had been described as about three to four metres long.

WA's fisheries department has deployed a patrol vessel to monitor the area and all local beaches will remain closed until Monday morning.

"It's a tragic incident, very unexpected, a person going out to have a bit of fun in the water," Mr Pears said.

"It's tragic for the family, friends and people of Broome."

Premier Mark McGowan expressed his condolences to the man's family and thanked those who had attempted to save him.

"It sounds like a very sad and very traumatic situation," he said.

Surf Live Saving WA's patrols of the beach finished last month.

A popular tourist attraction, Cable Beach has had a number of saltwater crocodile sightings and box jellyfish attacks over the years but rarely experienced shark attacks.

WA Police deputy commissioner Col Blanch said the attack was "very unusual" for the area.

Australian Associated Press