Surfer Attacked By Shark, Body Not Recovered In Western Australia
After two days of searching, Andrew Sharpe is presumed dead.
Somber news from south Western Australia today.
WA police say they have lost all hope of finding much-loved surfer Andrew Sharpe alive after he was attacked by a shark on Friday morning at a surf break near Esperance on Western Australia’s south coast.
“We don’t hold any ongoing hope unfortunately for Mr Sharpe’s survival,” Senior Sergeant Justin Tarasinski said.
After a second day of searching, authorities have recovered two pieces of wetsuit, believed to be that of Mr Sharpe’s, in the ocean near where he was surfing, but police said it would have to be tested for DNA.
On Friday, a piece of his surfboard was also washed ashore with “obvious signs of shark attack”.
The prominent local man was attacked while surfing at Wylie Bay’s popular Kelp Beds break around 11:00am on Friday.
Up to eight surfers were in the water at the time and witnessed the attack, along with bystanders on the beach.
This incident has re-ignited a discussion about what shark prevention measures should be taken in the area. ABC continues:
Sergeant Tarasinski said Mr Sharpe was a “well-regarded and much-loved” Esperance local and his assumed death had devastated the coastal town’s tight-knit community.
Local vet and Esperance Ocean Safety Group committee member David Swan offered his condolences to the man’s family.
“The community’s very sad and rallying around the family,” Dr Swan said.
Dr Swan said he wanted West Australian Premier Mark McGowan to visit the town.
“I strongly invite Premier Mark McGowan to come down and have a meeting with us,” he said.
“We’ve got some mitigation strategies unique to Esperance that are absolutely achievable, we’ve got the support of the entire community here.
“We want the local fisheries to be authorised to do immediate lethal drumlining in the event of an attack.
“We’ve [also] got an imminent threat policy, so if a shark is hanging around the populated beaches in the bay here or West Beach or Kelp Beds, that smart drumlining can occur.”
Esperance Shire President Ian Mickel backed Dr Swan’s call for a meeting with the Premier.
Esperance has had a bad run with sharks in recent years. According to ABC:
In the past decade, there have been fatal shark attacks in the area, and around the Esperance coast more broadly.
In 2014, 23-year-old surfer Sean Pollard was attacked by a shark at the beach, losing his arm and other hand.
Diver Gary Johnson was killed at Cull Island, off the Esperance coast, in January this year.
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