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Australian officials hunting for shark that killed 17-year-old off southwest coast

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SYDNEY — Australian officials were hunting for a shark on Tuesday that killed a teenager off Australia's southwest coast in the nation's second deadly attack in as many weeks.

Jay Muscat, 17, was spearfishing with a friend on Monday off Cheynes Beach, on the south coast of Western Australia state, when he was attacked.

The shark is believed to be a great white between 4 and 5 meters (13 and 16 feet) long, said Carlo Vittiglia, spokesman for the state fisheries department.

There is a chance the animal was injured, Vittiglia said, as there were reports that Muscat's friend managed to fire a spear at the shark during the attack.

Officials closed the beach and deployed equipment in an effort to catch the animal. If they catch the shark, it will be destroyed.

The attack comes two weeks after an 18-year-old man was killed by a shark while spearfishing on the Great Barrier Reef off Australia's east coast.

Sharks are common off Australia's beaches, but fatal attacks are rare; the country has averaged fewer than two deadly attacks per year in recent decades.

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