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Shark kills ­bodyboarder in Australia

A shark killed an Australian bodyboarder yesterday after snatching him from a group of friends and savaging him so badly the lower half of his body was torn away, police said.

The man, aged in his early 20s, was paddling at Sugar Loaf Rock off Bunker Bay, a popular tourist spot on Australia’s west coast, when the shark attacked shortly after 1 p.m. local time.

“He was bodyboarding with about four of five of his mates when he was taken out of the group,” a police spokesman said.

“He’s lost the lower half of his body and he’s deceased.”

The man was local to the area, which is popular with surfers and is about a three hour drive south of Perth.

It is the first fatal shark attack in the country since February, when a man diving for abalone was savaged off South Australia, and only the fourth since December 2008.

All but one have been off the west coast.

Sharks are a common feature in Australian waters but fatal attacks are rare, with only 24 recorded deaths in the 20 years up to June 2009, or an average of just 1.2 shark-related deaths per year, according to official data.

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