Paddleboarder dies after shark attack off Pacific island

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A 53-year-man has died of suspected shark bites while paddle boarding near a beach in Noumea, New Caledonia, prosecutors said Sunday, the latest in a number of attacks since the start of this year.

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The man was found lifeless on his board by a boater late Saturday just off the Nouville peninsula, on the main island of the French South Pacific territory.

An autopsy to confirm the cause of death is expected Monday.

“At this stage, investigators do indeed suspect a shark attack,” state prosecutor Yves Dupas said in a statement.

Authorities regularly issue shark alerts and warn swimmers to be vigilant for several species found in the waters surrounding New Caledonia.

In February, a 57-year-old man was killed near Maitre island after being bitten by a tiger shark that witnesses said was four meters (13 feet) long.

Authorities also believe the disappearance of a swimmer and a boater earlier this year could be due to sharks that have settled along the coasts near Noumea.

Twenty-four tiger and bull sharks that officials said were particularly large or aggressive were culled near the capital last month.

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