Around 1 p.m. local time, Australian authorities started to receive reports that a shark attacked a man. ABC News Australia says that the victim was diving near the West Beach of Cull Island when he encountered the animal. He was also on a boat with a woman prior to entering the ocean. She was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for shock.
"A man is reported to have been fatally injured after being bitten by a white shark," officials said. "A woman who was on board the boat at the time of the incident has been returned to shore, and has been taken by St John Ambulance to hospital."
Police and Marine Rescue WA volunteers responded to the incident. Air Wing, diving teams, and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development are working together to conduct the investigation. Per a police statement, these agencies are "still searching the ocean" in hopes of finding any remains of the diver.
The identities of the victim and the woman have not been released to the media. Shire of Esperance president Ian Mickel explained to ABC that the area is a popular tourist attraction, so all the surrounding beaches must be closed until Monday to assure the public's safety.
"I think of the thousands of people in Esperance this summer having a fantastic time swimming and snorkeling, to then have an event like this it is very disappointing," he said. "The shire closed all of the beaches immediately and endeavored to get people out of the water anywhere they knew people were surfing or swimming."
Despite being a popular beach, the area is reportedly home to more than 100 species of shark. In April 2017, 17-year-old Laeticia Brouwer died following a shark attack in the same region.