A MONSTER white pointer snatched a young surfer before trying to knock a jet-ski rider into the water in the fifth fatal shark attack in 10 months along a 380km stretch of the WA coast.
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The 4m killer dubbed Brutus by surfers near Wedge Island, 180km north of Perth mauled a 24-year-old man as he surfed with a mate at 9am yesterday.
Fisheries Minister Norman Moore ordered a shark hunt to capture and kill the beast, saying of the unprecedented spate of attacks: "We seriously have got a problem."
The jet-ski rider who tried to retrieve the surfer said it was a "massive, massive white shark" and "there was blood everywhere".
The shark tried to knock Matt Holmes, 22, off his jet ski as he attempted to pull the man on to the back of the craft. Then the beast returned to take the lifeless body for a second time.
"By the time I got out there half of him had been taken and the shark was circling," Mr Holmes said of the attack near Wedge Island, 180km north of Perth.
"I tried to lean off the side and pull him on the back, but as I did that, the shark came back and nudged the jet ski to try to knock me off.
"When I came back the second time, he took the rest of him. I just thought about his family and if he had kids. I just wanted to get him to shore. I gave it everything I had."
In a dramatic day:
* Fisheries Minister Norman Moore gave the order for the shark to be killed if caught.
* Mr Moore said the Government was re-assessing whether great white sharks should remain protected species.
* Local surfers at the beach had noticed a large shark in the vicinity in the previous four days. They had jokingly nicknamed it Brutus.
* Fisheries and marine officers set shark capture equipment and baited lines in the water to catch the beast.
* Water Police and Lancelin Volunteer Marine Rescue spent the day scouring the coast for the man's remains.
The victim, 24, was surfing with a friend at the beach, 4km south of Wedge Island, when he was attacked just before 9am.
When his mate yelled for help, Mr Holmes, who was towing a friend at the time, turned his jet ski to help.
"I was towing my mate on the back of the jet ski and just in front of us saw a guy get attacked by a shark," he said at the scene. "I just took my mate to the shore and went straight out and there was just blood everywhere and a massive, massive white shark circling the body.
"I reached to grab the body and the shark came at me on the jet ski and tried to knock me off and I did another loop and when I came back to the body the shark took it."
Yesterday's fatal mauling comes just three months after 33-year-old diver Peter Kurmann was killed by a shark off the South-West coast.
Bodyboarder Kyle Burden, 21, was killed near Bunker Bay in September, Bryn Martin, 64, disappeared while swimming off Cottesloe in October and American George Thomas Wainwright, 32, died after an attack while scuba diving off Rottnest Island, also in October.
Last month, 62-year-old surf lifesaver Martin Kane was rescued by a fellow paddler when a shark attacked his surf ski at Mullaloo Beach.
Department of Fisheries shark expert Rory McAuley said there had been an "unprecedented" number of fatal shark attacks off WA over the past two years.
Local resident and volunteer nurse Anne McGuiness, who has lived on Wedge Island for 36 years, was among the first to arrive on the scene yesterday.
"It was very, very sad indeed," she said. "There was a group of about 12 boys surfing and when I got here they were very distraught on the beach."
Witnesses said the victim and his friend were only 80m from shore when the attack happened and the pair had walked several kilometres to reach the remote surf spot.
Local resident Paul Burke said he feared such an attack would occur after hearing several reports of a large shark menacing surfers over the past four days.
"I've been fishing offshore and I've seen some monsters out there," he said.
"Local surfers have noticed a shark with a gut the size of a 44 gallon drum that they nicknamed Brutus."
"(The victim's friend) was in deep shock when I got there and was being given oxygen in the ambulance."
Fisheries and marine officers have set shark capture equipment and baited lines in the water in an attempt to catch the shark responsible for the attack.
Witnesses at the beach reported seeing the shark swimming away from shore soon after the attack but no other sightings have been reported since.
Beaches near Wedge Island will remained closed for the rest of the day and the local shire said it would reconsider opening them tomorrow if there had been no further shark sightings.
Surf Life Saving WA said Water Police had confirmed the attack was fatal.
Police from Jurien Bay and Lancelin were called to the popular surf beach after the man's distressed mate phoned for help.
The RAC rescue helicopter was called to air-lift the man back to Perth but it's understood his body is yet to be recovered.
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