Surf life saving rescue chopper helps clear 1584 from South West shark risk

Headshot of Jakeb Waddell
Jakeb WaddellBunbury Herald
The Surf Life Saving WA helicopter.
Camera IconThe Surf Life Saving WA helicopter. Credit: Unknown/Surf Life Saving WA

More than 1500 people have been cleared from beaches across the South West because of shark sightings in the past seven months.

Surf Life Saving WA reported a total of 326 sightings from its chopper between September 1 and last Monday, prompting 1584 people in the region to swim in to safety — a 60 per cent increase from the same period last year.

The helicopter really is able to deliver a service that no other resources can.

SLSWA general manager Chris Peck said it was clear that the chopper service continued to demonstrate its importance to public beach safety.

“In our South West in particular, where we have a large number of popular beaches which do not have beach patrol services, the ability for our helicopters to detect a danger, confirm, and initiate a response through a direct warning to beach users, is unique,” he said.

“The helicopter really is able to deliver a service that no other resources can.”

More than 5000 people were also cleared from metro waters after 234 shark sightings over the past seven months, with beaches closed 68 times.

The number of sightings across both areas was up 12 per cent compared to last season.

SLSWA conducted its final helicopter patrols across the South West and metro areas on Friday.

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