Fatal Shark Attack in Byron Bay

by stab March 08, 2016 3 min read

Story by Elliot Struck and Lucas Townsend

A man has died following a shark attack in Byron Bay this morning.

An Ambulance Public Affairs Spokeswoman told Stab that the victim was in his late 30s to early 40s and that Police have said he was pulled onto Main Beach. “Paramedics responded to a triple-0 call at 10:42 am this morning after reports from onlookers that a man was pulled from the water with a serious bite to his leg,” the spokeswoman said.


Another angle from the Seven News Chopper.

At around 10:30am the rescuer, who was on a white surf ski, spotted a form in the water. He told Nationwide News: “I thought it was a dead turtle, but then I could see the shark circling and the object moving. The shark came back to him and had another go. I didn’t know it was a person — but when I realised I ran out and waded to the bank and grabbed him and did CPR but it was too late. I brought him back in and worked on him on the beach.”

The victim had a gash on the leg above the knee and appeared to be dead when he reached the beach. The victim had flippers on, suggesting he was swimming at the time of the attack.

A rescue helicopter was dispatched. The spokeswoman said a doctor was already present on the scene treating the man when paramedics arrived. It’s also understood that two off-duty lifesavers from Byron Bay SLSC helped before CPR. He was later pronounced dead as a result of his injuries.

“He did have a serious leg injury and as a result has unfortunately died on the beach after being treated by a doctor and paramedics,” said the police officer on the scene.


That’s the shark down the bottom there, after the attack occurred. Photo: Nine News

It is not yet known what type of shark was responsible for the attack. Representatives from the Department of Primary Industries are en route and, through an investigation and coronial inquest, will identify the size and type of shark.

Police have closed the beach to the public, and the NSW Lifeguard Supervisor is currently on his way to the location to oversee local lifeguards closing the beach and the nearby beaches off for at least the next 24 hours.

The attack comes a day after 1000 protesters rallied against shark culling on Manly Beach yesterday. The protest was timed to coincide with the installation of nets at Manly for the first weekend this season.

While Byron Bay local, Soli Bailey, says that the last time he saw a shark around home while was surfing was five years ago at the Wreck, being injured lately has lent a different perspective.

Clarkes_Main“Because I’ve been injured, I’ve been fishing a lot,” he told Stab. “The water’s been really murky and brown lately and that’s when we see them coming in close. On the weekend, me and some mates were fishing off Broken Head. There’s a few big rocks out there and you have to swim about 25 metres between them. After swimming one gap I climbed out onto the rock, looked back and a fin caught my eye. We’re pretty sure it was a bull shark and it smashed this fish right where we were swimming. We could’ve been done, he knew we were there.

“There’s so many sharks up this way. There’s the old whaling station at Main Beach. Off Tallows and around near Wategos there’s a big drop-off. They usual cruise there and get the fish between the sand and the rock off the coast.

“All the clubbies who paddle from the bay to the cape, they reckon they see heaps of sharks.

“(The attack) doesn’t fully surprise me, but it does surprising me it happened today. It’s perfectly sunny, the water’s clean and I can image it would’ve been pretty beautiful in the bay right now. There was no wind this morning either, he would’ve had every chance to see it coming.”

More as it develops.

Photo: ABC News / Eloise Farrow-Smith

Photo: ABC News / Eloise Farrow-Smith

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