SYDNEY — The swimming cap and goggles of a woman taken by a shark in Australia have been found, police said Friday, as her husband accepted that she had been “consumed completely.” Christine Armstrong, 63, was with a group of people on their regular morning swim between Tathra Wharf and Tathra Beach about 350 kilometers south of Sydney on Thursday when she disappeared. Her husband Rob and others in the group said they saw a shark close by. “A cap and goggles, belonging to a woman who was taken by a shark on the state’s far south coast yesterday have been located,” New South Wales police said. “The cap and goggles were found late yesterday with a quantity of organic matter. “These remains have been identified as human and they will undergo forensic testing.” Two boats continued the search Friday, with a driver and two people in each vessel leaning over the sides with masks and snorkels to look for signs of Armstrong or the shark, the Bega District News said. Armstrong’s husband of 44 years said he was convinced his wife suffered a quick death. He told reporters that he was certain she “would not have known what had hit her.” “The shark was such a size and it’s consumed her basically completely — she wouldn’t have even known it happened.” As a regular swimmer who knew the risks, he added she would not have blamed the species for the attack. Sharks are common in Australian waters but deadly attacks are rare, with only one of the average 15 incidents a year typically proving fatal. The latest attack follows a presumed death in February when a man went missing while spear-fishing off the South Australia coast in the same week that a great white shark was reported in the area. And on Wednesday the body of a diver who vanished in Western Australia at the weekend was recovered, with police saying there was evidence he had been bitten by a shark.
According to the Australian Shark Attack File based at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, the last unprovoked fatality in New South Wales, the state where Armstrong was attacked, was in 2013 at Coffs Harbor north of Sydney.