A 16-year-old killed by a shark while swimming in a Western Australia (WA) river has been identified as Stella Berry.
The schoolgirl was pronounced dead after being pulled from the Swan River in Perth on Saturday.
Stella was riding jet skis with friends when she jumped into the water to swim with dolphins and was attacked, police say.
In a statement, her parents said they were “devastated and deeply shocked”.
Stella Berry was attacked by a shark in Perth’s Swan River
Matt and Sophie Berry said their daughter was a “vibrant and happy girl” who loved the water and art.
“She was a caring person and was a dear friend to many… a beautiful and loving big sister and the best daughter we could have hoped for.”
One of her friends, Lara Connolly, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Stella was the “sweetest and smartest girl that I knew”. “She was so kind,” Lara said.
Authorities are investigating what type of shark was involved, but the WA Fisheries Minister has said it was “likely” a bull shark.
The government will consider what could be done to prevent any similar incidents, Don Punch said. “Shark barriers is something we’re always open to talking to local government about.”
Fisheries experts say it is unusual to find sharks in that part of the Swan River, and the attack is the first fatal one along the river in 100 years.
Historically, dying from a shark bite is not common. In more than a century of records, Australia’s shark attack mortality rate is 0.9 – less than one person per year. There were two fatal shark attacks in 2021, and seven in 2020.