The first images have emerged of Stella Berry, the 16-year-old girl who was fatally mauled by a shark in front of her horrified friends.
She was relaxing by a rope swing with her friends in the Swan River in North Fremantle, at about 3.30pm on Saturday when she saw a pod of dolphins and jumped into the water.
Just moments later, what authorities say was likely a bull shark latched onto her leg.
Despite being pulled to shore by heroic onlookers she died at the scene.
The unimaginable horror has rocked the community and sparked an outpouring of grief across the country – as students at Perth’s Shenton College where she attended struggle to cope with the tragedy.
Stella is being remembered as a fun-loving teenager, who loved to make zany videos dancing and miming lyrics with friends, frequently showing off her infectious smile.
She was also a talented athlete and keen hockey player.
Stella Berry (pictured), a 16-year-old schoolgirl, was fatally attacked by a shark after jumping into WA’s Swan River on Saturday
Stella liked creating art and was a keen runner who wanted to compete in a marathon
Matt and Sophie Berry, Stella’s parents, said they were ‘devastated and deeply shocked’ by the loss of their ‘beautiful’ daughter.
‘Stella was a vibrant and happy girl with plans of living in Europe after school,’ they said.
‘She was a caring person and was a dear friend to many, across a variety of schools in the area.
‘She had an infectious laugh which we couldn’t help laughing at too when we heard it.
‘She was a beautiful and loving big sister and the best daughter we could have hoped for.’
Stella’s sister on Sunday also posted emotional tribute on social media.
‘Thank you for your blessings. She was the best sister I could ever wish for, I would never change a thing about her,’ her TikTok post read.
Stella, who was the daughter of two teachers, enjoyed making TikTok videos with her friends and family
On Sunday a number of Stella’s friends gathered on the banks of the Swan River near the spot she was attacked, which has been turned into a makeshift memorial site.
Four teens stood arm-in-arm looking out at the water before being joined by two more friends as the intermittent sounds of crying and wailing carried along the river banks.
Friend Lara Connolly said Stella was a gifted runner who wanted to compete in a marathon.
Stella was the ‘sweetest and smartest girl that I knew’, Laura told the ABC.
‘She never did anything wrong to anybody.’
‘She was so kind. She loved art. I’d ride my bike to see her sometimes and I’d see her running.’
Friends described Stella (pictured) as the ‘sweetest and smartest’ girl that they knew and one who ‘never did wrong by anybody’
Laura said she and another friend of Stella, Teagan McArthur, had vowed to run a marathon in honour of the 16-year-old.
Shenton College principal Michal Morgan said Stella’s death had caused ‘great sadness, sincere empathy and the deepest regret’.
‘I understand and respect that people respond to grief and loss in different ways, and that a loss such as this can trigger a broad range of emotional responses that are not always anticipated or evident,’ Mr Morgan told The West.
‘I have personally offered, on behalf of the College, our condolences and support to Stella’s family during this very sad time.’
Both Ms Berry’s parents are teachers.
Perth local, Joshua Banks, 16, was rope swinging with six friends nearby before the gruesome attack unfolded.
‘Me and my mates Jacob and Harry saw them – we actually watched them pass through the bridge as we (were) rope swinging,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.
A local, who saw the 16-year-old die being mauled by what is believed to be a bull shark, said she heard people screaming before the man jumped in
Joshua Banks was rope swinging with a group of mates close by and saw the teen girl and her friends on jet skis before they jumped into the water
‘They passed and we saw them get off the jet skis near the beach and jump off and swim to the shore quickly.’
The teen described what he saw as a ‘completely random attack’ and said he and his friends were left ‘shaken’ by the event.
‘We were completely unaware of this attack and had been swimming and jumping off for about an hour to 45 minutes,’ he said.
He added that his friends were ‘aware it could’ve been us’ instead.
Witnesses told police that a man bravely dived into the water to pull the teenage girl out, describing him as a ‘hero’, but paramedics were unable to save her.
A local girl said she heard people screaming before the man jumped in to try and save her life.
A teenage girl was mauled to death by a shark at Swan River in North Fremantle on Saturday in what eyewitness Joshua Banks described as a ‘completely random attack’
The girl is believed to have been swimming with dolphins when she was attacked by the shark
The girl’s family and friends were seen in a state of shock near the river after she was pulled out.
Emergency services, including police boats, rushed to the scene near the Fremantle traffic bridge and she was pulled out of the water with severe leg injuries.
Fremantle District Acting Inspector Paul Robinson described the incident as ‘traumatic’.
‘It’s an extremely traumatic event for everyone involved and everyone who knew the young girl, so I won’t be going into the extent of the injuries.
‘It is unusual for a shark to be that far down the river … at this point in time an alert has been put out, a shark warning just to let people know this incident has taken place.
‘What we’ve been advised issues with friends on the river, they were on Jet Skis, there was possibly a pod of dolphins been seen nearby, and the young female jumped in the water to swim nearby the dolphins.’
Stella Berry was a student at Shenton College in Perth (pictured). She died on Saturday afternoon
Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan offered his condolences to Stella’s family and friends.
‘It must be awfully tragic for them, all our thoughts go to them at this point in time,’ he said.
‘In terms of these events, they’re very rare events, but when they happen, it’s just awful.’
It is the first fatal shark attack in the Swan River in a century.
‘We did a whole range of things in the ocean to improve safety for people, but the river is different,’ Mr McGowan said.
‘Flying helicopter patrols, it doesn’t work, because the river is opaque, it’s brown — it’s very difficult to find things that work.’
WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured) has sent his condolences to the family of shark victim Stella Berry
WA Fisheries Minister Don Punch said other measures could be considered.
‘Shark barriers is something we’re always open to talking to local government about in relation to protected swimming areas,’ he said.
The minister said drum lines are not part of shark mitigation strategy.
While authorities are yet to determine the type of shark involved, Mr Punch said he believed it could be a bull shark.
We do know that bull sharks, particularly, do enter estuaries and freshwater river systems, so it is likely that may be the case,’ he said.
Fremantle detectives will prepare a report for the coroner.
Matt and Sophie Berry pay tribute to their daughter Stella
We are devastated and deeply shocked by the loss of our beautiful daughter Stella.
We want to acknowledge the amazing support we have received from our family, friends, authorities and the WA community.
Stella was a vibrant and happy girl with plans of living in Europe after school.
She was a caring person and was a dear friend to many, across a variety of schools in the area.
She had an infectious laugh which we couldn’t help laughing at too when we heard it. Our thoughts are with Stella’s many friends at this time.
Stella loved creating art and spending time with her friends, particularly at the river and beach. She had her skipper’s ticket and often took friends out on the river for a day of ‘scurfing’.
She was a beautiful and loving big sister and the best daughter we could have hoped for.