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Biggest ever great white shark sighting closes Newcastle beaches

The five-metre predator was believed to weigh some 1700kg and was reportedly the single largest shark ever spotted in the Newcastle area.

A sighting in the ocean close to Nobbys Head forced municipal authorities to close off access to beaches for a record seventh day, with shark experts advising not to reopen them for at least a 24-hour period after the last sighting. “Again, we ask for everyone’s cooperation in heeding the warnings and staying out of the water at all beaches,” said the City of Newcastle Council in a statement.

“Sightings of this shark have been across all beaches, from Stockton to Merewether [and] it’s not safe for anyone to be in the water, including board riders, even close to shore, as sharks are known to move into the surf zone, hunting prey between where the surf breaks and the shoreline,” the statement read.

A great white shark of this size could quite easily bite someone in half, said Nobbys Beach inspector Paul Bernard. “You don’t get a second chance with these things, [one] bite can be fatal,” he said. “We’ve never had a shark this size hanging around.”

At the same time the five-metre shark was sighted, another shark described to be “as big as a car” presented onlookers with a harrowing show off the northern end of Nobbys Beach prior to devouring a dolphin.

Local resident Miles Niddrie, who runs the Learn To Surf surf school near Newcastle, told The Australian that a further patrol had been carried out in the water at 7am, adding that he was hopeful the beaches might soon open up again. “I’ve been regularly liaising with Newcastle Council, and cancelled all my scheduled lessons on Sunday as a precaution, as well as yesterday’s and today’s,” he said.

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