Shark attack suspected at Wylie Bay, Esperance, where surfer is missing
A possible shark attack has been reported at Kelp Beds surf break in Wylie Bay, near Esperance, on Western Australia's south coast, where an adult male surfer is missing.
Police said a surf board had been found floating in the water but the surfer had not been found.
Emergency authorities are at the scene including Esperance Police, St John Ambulance, Marine Rescue and Surf Life Saving WA.
A witness reported a potential shark attack just before 11:00am.
It followed a shark sighting about 9:20am, but the report did not specify which species of shark was spotted.
Police said the search and rescue operation was "ongoing."
Surfer tried to pull man from water
Speaking at a press conference on Friday afternoon, WA Premier Mark McGowan said the missing man was in the water with other surfers.
He said one of the surfers tried to rescue him from the water but was unable to do so.
"It sounds like it's a very, very difficult and very serious situation," he said.
Video posted from the area shows surf life savers and a jet ski heading towards the beach.
Wylie Bay beach has since been closed.
Authorities have warned people to take extra care around the area and to stay informed via the SharkSmart website.
The surf spot is notorious for shark attacks.
It is the same area where 17-year-old Laeticia Brouwer died after being bitten by a white shark in 2017.
In 2014, 23-year-old surfer Sean Pollard was also attacked by a shark at the beach, losing his arm and other hand.
Emotional scenes at Kelp Beds surf break
ABC journalist Emily Smith is at the scene and said while her vision was limited because the beach had been closed, she could see surf lifesaving jet skis in the water.
Kelp Beds, known as "Kelpies", is a popular surf break and can only be accessed by car from one entry point.
"All the surfers just drive up and park their cars in a long line and it looks like there's still about 10 cars out there," Ms Smith said.
"People have begun arriving at the beach after hearing about the possible shark attack, worried about if their loved one is a victim.
"At least one person is in tears.
"It's just so terrible for this community, everyone's quite on edge about shark attacks all the time.
"Everyone knows a surfer in town so it's really horrible right now."
Shire of Esperance president Ian Mickel said both he and the wider community were devastated by the possible attack.
"I think most people are really feeling very sad and extremely disappointed that we've had another shark attack in that area," he said.
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