Shark Attacks Man Near Elliston
Emergency services searching for a surfer believed to have been killed in a shark attack off South Australia's Eyre Peninsula say they have recovered the man's board, and that several people witnessed the incident.
The 46-year-old man from Elliston was surfing at Walkers Rocks Beach on the Great Australian Bight when he was attacked an estimated 30 to 50 metres offshore, and is now missing.
Police and the State Emergency Service (SES) were called to the spot, about 7 kilometres north of Elliston, after 10am.
The SES said the "well-known" local was believed to have died in the attack and a search involving police and community members was underway.
More than half a dozen boats, as well as jet skis, searched the waters where he was last seen before stopping for the night.
Authorities said the search would resume at first light on Sunday morning.
Streaky Bay SES unit manager Trevlyn Smith said he had been told there were perhaps as many as 16 other people in the vicinity at the time, some of whom witnessed the attack.
"There were obviously several people in the water and from what I can hear there were witnesses that saw evidence of the attack," he said.
"It was fairly close to the shore I believe."
No-one else was injured in the incident, but Mr Smith said the man's surfboard had been retrieved.
"We were told that they had recovered the surfboard, by [a searcher on] a jetski as I understand, and then that was transferred onto one of the local vessels," he said.
"We've got a missing person, they've already got the surfboard ... we're just looking for anything that relates to [that] person."
Community left 'devastated'
Mr Smith said there was "absolute shock and dismay" at what had happened.
He said the man was "well known" in the community, and abalone diver Jonas Woolford said, "locals would be devastated".
"It would shake them, totally, it's full on. We haven't had a shark attack here on this coastline for over 20 years, fortunately," he said.
"If you lose someone from the community, it would really hurt."
Mr Woolford, who joined the search operation, was bringing tourists back from Flinders Island about 35 kilometres west of Elliston when he noticed something was wrong.
"As I pulled up there was a lot of commotion going on at the boat ramp and then I learnt that there had been a shark attack," he said.
"Walkers Rocks — it's quite close to shore and not really the place you would expect, like there's not too much deep water around, so yeah it's concerning, really concerning."
The remote area is popular with surfers and divers, but the broader Great Australian Bight has a history of shark incidents.
"Shark attacks are very rare, fortunately, but … the number of great white sharks is increasing," Mr Woolford said.
"Us as divers, we're seeing more and more and it's well known that, along the whole southern coastline of Australia, there's more interactions for sure."
Elliston is about 650 kilometres from Adelaide, and the Bight is notorious for the presence of sharks — including great whites — in its waters.
Google Maps marks a "shark breeding ground" just south of Walkers Rocks Beach, while Port Lincoln towards the southern tip of Eyre Peninsula is home to cage diving tour operators.
While fatal shark attacks have occurred with much greater frequency in other states in recent years, the Bight was the site of two deadly attacks in as many days in 2000.
On September 25 of that year, 17-year-old Jevan Wright was killed while surfing at Elliston — a day after 25-year-old New Zealander Cameron Bayes was fatally attacked, while on his honeymoon, at Cactus Beach near Penong.
Less than two years later, Paul Buckland was killed near Ceduna, and several more deadly shark encounters have occurred in SA waters since then, including the death of Sam Kellett in 2014.
The 28-year-old teacher was preparing for a spear-fishing competition when he was taken by a shark off Goldsmith Beach near Edithburgh on Yorke Peninsula.
© Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.
Doesn't sound good. Hoping for the best.
He's passed away. R.I.P
Godarren reckons it was at blacks
What makes you say that?
Godarren posted it on the comp chat today.. i've searched everywhere, but no confirmation yet of it being Blacks. ABC Radio update 2 mins ago is still saying Walkers.
"A man is believed to have died following a shark attack at Walkers Rocks Beach this morning," police said on Saturday afternoon. (9news)
Damn another one there, RIP.
Oh shit. Memories of 2000 flooding back. RIP mate.
My Heart goes out to their family, friends..
Yeah shit. Worst outcome. Thoughts go out to the family, friends and those close to them.
jeez .....RIP mate
So so sorry for all involved.
Condolences to his family, and those witnesses involved close by.
Speaking to a cactus local, he said this incident sounds similar to the fatal attack at cactus back in 2000 ,
small waves, in shallow water , attacked then taken out deeper and body can't be located so far, board floating out,
search was on still, an hour ago. Hope they can find him - for his family.
Was it at blacks?
In 2000 there was a fatal at cactus and then the day after at blacks.
Yeah I know of those couple, I was talking about todays one.
The godarren referred to above said blacks in the livechat of the snapper comp but all the reports are that it was down the road at Walkar's rock so I'd go with that.
Ah gotcha, cheers ld
That 2000 Elliston attack happening a day after the cactus one was pretty spooky.
Horrible. Sorry to family and friends.
The victim was a 'beloved Eyre Peninsula teacher', location Walkers Rocks Beach according to the Advertiser
The tragic circumstances being at the forefront - an Eyre mate sent me an early text citing Blacks...obviously some initial confusion, The community will be rocked.
sorry for your mate Godarren, horrific tragedy for those tight communities and those who knew and loved Simon, as well as the students.
I didn't know Simon basesix - it was a mate from Pt Lincoln who first contacted me.
The victim has been named. Local teacher. I went to school with the guy in Adelaide (he was 4-5 years ahead of me). RIP. Terrible way to go.
Scary. I feel for his family and the community who were affected. My partner and I travelled through elliston a few weeks back. I was looking for somewhere to surf that suited my abilities (some pretty solid surf rolling through, I was looking for something more accessible). After my partner had come back from a walk she suggested a spot called 'shark breeding ground' where a few guys were out surfing a left. I checked it out the next day but it wasn't working. Walkers is about 10km up the coast from there.
Rest easy old mate
Well in the last week or so Gws have been showing up more and more on the Dorsal sites along the east coast and now showing around ballina evans so looks like the fukkers are back again ......may till october on the east coast so take care
"Google Maps marks a "shark breeding ground" just south of Walkers Rocks Beach."
Not that I'll ever surf it, but surely that's a joke to keep blowins off Blacks.
correct , you'll find the same thing on many waves , to keep the tourists in the know, even depot bommie has one them!
But the warnings are warranted !
Yeah a mate that has surf in that area said was a sign up at one of the beaches stating.."If the reef don't get ya..The sharks will"..That would prob keep me on the sand.
Condolences to the family and friends
Awful news!! A sad weekend for the SA surfers when one of the crew gets taken like this..
So sad for his family and all who were there. Had a big one swim past us out front of the Lennox Pub last Saturday, looked like a bull, easy 6 foot. With the whale migration coming up, be careful guys
As a surfer it is the chance we take every time we paddle out. Quite a close encounter here recently where one breached over a locals board narrowly missing him! RIP brother & condolences to his family & friends.
Tragic news. RIP mate, and condolences to family and friends....
Sad situation. My heart felt condolences to the family, friends and the community.
Heart broken for the family friends and community