A swimmer died after a suspect attacked a rare stingray off the coast of Australia while two other people were persecuted in a separate shark meeting this weekend.
The death of the 42-year-old man came more than a decade after the world-famous "Crocodile Hunter". Steve Irwin was killed when a stingray pierced his chest while he was filming on the famous Great Barrier Reef.
The man was in waters off Lauderdale Beach about 23 kilometers from Hobart in the southern island state of Tasmania on Saturday when he "suffered stab wounds to his lower abdomen … possibly caused by marine animals", police said.
He was taken to the beach by friends but suffered a heart attack and could not be resuscitated, added the police.
"This is consistent with (stingray injury) but further investigation and examination of the deceased may provide a little more concrete facts about it," Police Senior Police Brett Bowering told the Tasmanian Sunday.
"This is a fairly traumatic incident to see."
Commonly found in tropical waters, stingrays rarely attack humans but their thorns, at the tip of their tails, are coated with poisonous poisons that they use to defend themselves when threatened.
In the first weekend shark attack, a man who took part in surfing lessons off the east coast was seriously injured after a meeting on Saturday.
The 24-year-old was wading the waist in the waters of Seven Mile Beach about 130 kilometers south of Sydney when he "felt a strong hitting motion against his feet", said the New South Wales Ambulance.
He had "significant cuts and bleeding and several stab wounds to his wetsuits and right leg … and a wound in his hand", NSW Ambulance duty operation manager Inspector Jordan Emery told reporters on Saturday.
Beaches are closed and authorities are trying to identify the species of shark involved.
The attack was followed by another attack on Sunday off the north coast, when a teenage boy was bitten on his arms and legs during a spear, police said.
The 17-year-old teenager caught a spear from a ship off Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory when he suffered "significant injuries" on his arm, St John Ambulance told ABC.
"There is obviously a lot of bleeding going on," said Craig Garraway of St John Ambulance.
He said meeting sharks in NT was unusual, adding: "I have been around for a long time and I will be honest, I can't remember shark attacks."
Debate about reducing shark meetings
The two attacks were the sixth and seventh from the coast of Australia in two months, amid public debate about how to reduce the risk of encounters between sharks and more people using the sea to relax.
Australia has one of the highest incidence of shark attacks in the world, but fatalities remain rare.
There were 13 "unwarranted shark attacks" off the continent's coast this year, including one death after a swimmer was persecuted by sharks in the Whitsunday Islands in early November, according to data from Sydney's Taronga Zoo.
There were 15 attacks – one fatal – last year, and 17 meetings and two deaths in 2016, the data showed.
New South Wales hosted an international conference with oceanographers in 2015 after a sharp increase in attacks across Australia that year to 22, including the death of a Japanese surfer after his legs were torn by sharks.
The state, Australia's most populous, has been testing non-lethal measures such as air drones to track shark movements and "smart" drum lines that remind authorities of their existence.