An Australian woman taking a morning swim with friends at the popular east coast beach she'd frequented for 14 years died today in a rare shark attack. Christine Armstrong, 63, had become somewhat separated from five fellow swimmers, including her husband, when a witness onshore at Tathra Beach said a shark about 11 feet long attacked her; her group didn't see the attack, but "joined up together and did their best to keep the shark at bay, although it didn't directly attack them," says a police inspector. An extensive search that the AP calls "fruitless" was later called off; Australia's ABC News reports that partial female remains were recovered, though they haven't definitively been tied to the attack.
"The community is in shock, and the husband is taking it hard, as he has been with her since they were kids," says the police inspector, as per CNN, who says he can't recall another such attack. "Cancer, heart attacks—those are all things we fear but expect, but who gets taken by a shark?" Earlier this year, Australia began a controversial cull to ward off such attacks. (Read more Australia stories.)