Girl, 16, Dies in Australia Shark Attack After Jumping into Water to Swim with Dolphins: 'We Are Devastated'
A teenage girl in Western Australia was killed in a rare shark attack on Saturday, authorities said.
Stella Berry, 16, was jet skiing with friends on the Swan River in Perth when she jumped into the water to swim with a pod of dolphins, according to the Associated Press, Reuters and CNN.
"There was possibly a pod of dolphins seen nearby and the young female jumped in the water to swim nearby the dolphins," Police Acting Inspector Paul Robinson said per the AP.
Authorities were called to the scene just before 4 p.m. near a traffic bridge, where Berry was pulled from the water with critical injuries, including massive blood loss, 7 News Australia reported.
Tragically, the girl died at the scene, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. It was the first fatal shark attack on the river in 100 years.
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"The family weren't there when this took place, however, her friends were and as you can imagine this is an extremely traumatic incident for anyone to witness," Police Acting Inspector Paul Robinson said, per CBS News. "So obviously we're offering counseling services to anyone who did witness it or is affected by the incident."
Berry may have been killed by a bull shark, but officials have not yet publicly identified the species that was involved.
"I've spoken to fisheries and water police and unfortunately we have no idea what type of shark it is," Robinson said, according to the AP.
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In 2021, a bull shark attacked a local man in his 50s in the same river, CNN reported. The sharks can be occasionally aggressive, experts say.
"The Swan River estuary is good bull shark habitat and this means people can come into close contact with them," said Andrew Chin, a senior research fellow at James Cook University, told the outlet.
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James D. Morgan/Getty Swan River
Berry was remembered by her school community as having "an impressive sense of conviction about where she was in her life and what she hoped to achieve.
"I would not presume to assert that I understand the pain and anguish that is being felt by the Berry family and Stella's friends at this difficult time. I do hope, however, that as Principal of Shenton College, I have the responsibility and right to respectfully acknowledge and celebrate the life of Stella Berry – Shenton student, Year 11," principal Michael Morgan wrote in a statement on social media.
"She wanted to run a marathon; she saw herself completing school and going to explore life overseas," Morgan added. "In her short time here at Shenton College, Stella has given embodiment to her name – for Stella, like her name, was a star. She radiated light into the lives of others and had a lasting positive impact on everyone she touched"
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The girl's parents, Matt and Sophie Berry, released a statement following her death, per the Sydney Morning Herald, describing their daughter as a "caring person and a "dear friend."
"We are devastated and deeply shocked by the loss of our beautiful daughter who was a vibrant and happy girl with plans of living in Europe after school," they wrote in part.
"She was a caring person and was a dear friend to many, across a variety of schools in the area," they said, and added: "She had an infectious laugh which we couldn't help laughing at too when we heard it."