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Esperance shark attack victim Laeticia Brouwer died doing 'something she treasured doing'

Laeticia Brouwer. Photo: Facebook

The 17-year-old surfer who died after being mauled by a shark near the Western Australian town of Esperance on Monday has been identified as Laeticia Brouwer.

The teenager, along with her sister and father, were keen surfers from the town of Singleton, south of Perth.

The family were in Esperance for the Easter long weekend when Laeticia was attacked, with police expected to confirm her identity on Tuesday.

Laeticia Brouwer (left) was surfing with her father. Her mother and two sisters reportedly watched the shark attack from the beach. Photo: Supplied

Laeticia was believed to have been unconscious when she was pulled from the water around 4pm local time at Kelp Beds – approximately three kilometres east of Wylie Bay.

She was seriously mauled on one of her legs, leading to massive blood loss, while surfing with her father.

Her mother and two sisters were reportedly watching on from the beach as she was attacked by the shark.

A family spokesman, on Tuesday morning, was emotional as he read a statement from the family to media in Esperance.

“We are terribly heartbroken and saddened by this tragic accident,” he said.

“We take comfort in the fact that Laeticia died doing something that she loved – the ocean was her and her family’s passion.

“Surfing was something that she treasured doing with her dad and sisters.

“Laeticia will be greatly missed by her friends, family and everyone that knew her.”

Her parents’ Facebook page showed photos of ‘Teesh’ – as she was affectionately known – and her sister surfing at a number of beaches with their father.

She also played netball at a local club.

A spokesman at the Esperance police station said the attack occurred while Laeticia and her father were surfing “not a long way off-shore” where waves were breaking.

“He obviously tried everything he could to help his daughter but sadly he wasn’t able to save her…he brought her to shore,” he said.

“She seemed like quite a competent surfer.”

Esperance Police, St John Ambulance, Esperance Marine Rescue and the State Emergency Service rushed to the scene where they treated Laeticia on the beach.

Esperance Express reporter Caitlyn Rintoul, who was one of the first on the scene, said a woman was being hugged by a paramedic as the girl was given CPR.

“Our local paramedic was giving her CPR and calling on bystanders to come over and lift her onto the next stretcher,” she said.

Laeticia was then taken to Esperance Hospital in a critical condition, where she died shortly after.

Wylie Bay beach. Photo: Getty

Water police have urged people to avoid the water in the Wylie Bay area for at least the next 48 hours.

Fisheries minister Dave Kelly said the government would not be deploying drum lines to catch the shark.

“Obviously yesterday’s incident is a tragedy, to have a young woman lose her life in those circumstances is very sad. Our thoughts this morning are with her family and friends,” he said.

“There’s fisheries vessels doing patrols, there’s also staff patrolling the beaches and the beach will remain closed until fisheries and the local authorities review that it’s safe to open.

“There haven’t been drum lines deployed this morning. We made it clear in opposition that we don’t see the merit in automatically deploying drum lines because they don’t actually make our beaches any safer.”

Kelp Beds, also known as “Kelpies”, is a popular surf break in a remote area also used for camping and four-wheel driving.

It is just east of Wylie Bay, where Sean Pollard was attacked by two great white sharks in October 2014. The Bunbury man lost his left arm and right hand in the attack.

Last year there were two fatal shark attacks in WA.

In May Ben Gerring, 29, died following an attack at Falcon Beach, near Mandurah, while a month later 60-year-old Doreen Collyer died after a great white attack in Mindarie, just north of Perth.

This article first appeared on Stuff.co.nz. See the original article here.

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