Victim of Brutal Shark Attack Is Identified

It was the first fatal attack in Sydney, Australia, since 1963
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2022 8:48 AM CST
Updated Feb 17, 2022 7:55 AM CST
'Human Remains' in Water After Sydney Shark Attack
Stock photo of Little Bay Beach.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) Update: The victim of Sydney's first fatal shark attack in nearly 60 years has been identified as 35-year-old diving instructor Simon Nellist. ABC notes Nellist's "social media is filled with underwater pictures, showing him as an avid ocean lover." It's thought Nellist, who the BBC identifies as a native Brit, swam at Little Bay nearly daily. Sydney's beaches have had protective nets in place for almost a century, and drones and helicopters regularly scan for sharks. They're now involved in the search for the shark that killed Nellist; officials are also using sensor drumlines—which involves a baited line—to try to hook the creature. The BBC notes that in most cases like these, the shark is located within days. Our original story from Wednesday follows:

Around 4:30pm local time Wednesday, authorities in Sydney, Australia, received a report of a shark attack on a swimmer at Little Bay Beach. Responding officers encountered "human remains" in the water. It's the first fatal shark attack in the city since 1963, reports CBS News. "Unfortunately, this person had suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of the attack and there was nothing paramedics could do when we arrived on scene," an official tells CNN. A witness who had been fishing at the scene said he saw a man in a wetsuit be pulled under by a shark that he estimates was 15 feet long. "When he went down there were so many splashes," the man told ABC. "I keep vomiting. It's very, very upsetting."

ABC reports ambulance crews described a "horrific scene," and another witness who spoke with Nine News did much the same: "Some guy was swimming and a shark came and attacked him vertically. We heard a yell and turned around it looked like a car had landed in the water, a big splash then the shark was chomping at the body and there was blood everywhere." A local official had this to say: "To lose someone to a shark attack like this is chilling. We are all in shock. Our entire community's hearts go out to the family of the victim." CBS News notes it's the first shark-related fatality of 2022 in the country; three people died in shark attacks off Australia in 2021. (Read more shark attack stories.)

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