A swimmer who was fatally mauled by a shark off the coast of Sydney has been named locally as a 35-year-old British expat.
Simon Nellist was training for a charity ocean swim when he was attacked from below by the creature at Buchan Point, near Little Bay about 20 km (12 miles) south of the city.
Mr Nellist’s body suffered “catastrophic injuries”, officials said.
Image: Sydney beaches have closed after first fatal shark attack in 60 years
He was reportedly an experienced ocean swimmer and friends said he “loved the water”.
It is believed Mr Nellist was a British expatriate living in the Wolli Creek area of Sydney and was engaged to be married.
The Malabar Magic Ocean Swim has since been cancelled “out of respect” for Mr Nellist.
In a statement, the organising committee said: “The organising committee extends our thoughts and prayers to the family of the swimmer who was so tragically taken yesterday.
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“Out of respect for the swimmer and his family, and following wide consultation with Randwick Council and experienced senior Surf Life Saving personnel, we believe that cancelling the 2022 swim is appropriate.”
Wednesday’s incident was the first fatal shark attack in Australia’s largest city since 1963.
Several of Sydney’s beaches, including the iconic Bondi and Bronte, were temporarily closed as officials hunt for the killer shark.
The beaches have been cleared to reopen on Friday, 18 February.
Drum lines, which are used to bait sharks, have been set up near the attack site off Little Bay beach, while drones have been deployed to see if the shark is still in the area.
“This has been a complete shock for our community,” said Dylan Parker, the mayor of Randwick Council which includes Little Bay.
“Our coastline is our backyard and to have a tragic death under such horrifying circumstances is completely shocking.”
Image: The beaches have been cleared to reopen on Friday, 18 February. Pic: Tudor Maude
A spokesperson for the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries said its shark biologists believe a white shark at least three metres (9.8 feet) in length was likely responsible for the attack.
Authorities have ordered people to stay out of the sea as temperatures hovered around 30C (86F).
“A few crazy surfers still go out and take the risk but most of us take notice and just stay out of the water until the sharks have gone. It’s a lot more dangerous driving, to be quite honest,” local resident Karen Romalis told Reuters news agency.
Source : Sky News