Two teenage swimmers have recalled hearing a ‘big scream’ after a 16-year-old high school girl was mauled to death by a shark in Perth.
Luke Smith and Joshua Warwick relived the terrifying moment the attack unfolded at the Swan River in North Fremantle, about 3.30pm on Saturday.
Year 11 student Stella Berry, 16, had been riding a jet ski when she jumped in the water to swim with dolphins and was attacked by a suspected bull shark.
‘There was this big scream and then we see a girl just jump off and we see a few fins,’ Luke said.
He made the revelation as Stella’s parents broke their silence to share their shock and devastation after losing their daughter.
A teenager swimmer has recalled hearing a ‘big scream’ after a 16-year-old high school girl (pictured, Stella Berry) was mauled to death by a shark in Perth
Luke Smith (left) and Joshua Warwick (right) relived the terrifying moment the attack unfolded along the Swan River in North Fremantle, at about 3.30pm on Saturday
The shark latched onto Stella’s leg before swimming away when the 16-year-old was pulled from the water by heroic bystanders.
Joshua described the scene of chaos that followed with emergency services trying desperately to revive the mauled teenager, 9News reported.
‘We saw the police running down the hill, and we thought maybe they were chasing someone and then we saw a girl on the ground getting resuscitated,’ he said.
Both Luke and Joshua had been swimming at the same spot 10 minutes earlier and said they were unsettled by the realisation they could’ve been attacked.
Stella’s parents Matt and Sophie 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,’ the couple wrote in a statement.
‘She was a caring person and was a dear friend to many, across a variety of schools in the area.
Joshua described the scene of chaos that followed with emergency services trying their best to revive the mauled teenager
Both Luke and Joshua had been swimming at the same spot 10 minutes earlier and said they were unsettled by the realisation they could’ve been attacked
Year 11 student Stella Berry, 16, had been riding a jet ski when she jumped in the water to swim with dolphins and was attacked by a suspected bull shark (stock image)
‘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 posted an 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.
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.
Friends described Stella (pictured) as the ‘sweetest and smartest’ girl that they knew and one who ‘never did wrong by anybody’
Stella was the ‘sweetest and smartest girl that I knew’, Lara 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.’
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.
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.