A YOUTH who was in the water at the time of yesterday's fatal shark attack estimated the shadow he saw in the water was between 12-14 feet long.
"I don't know what kind of shark it was," the East Ballina surfer said.
"But it was big."
Visibly shaken by witnessing the event, another local youth said: "It all happened so quick.
"I saw a big splash and then the water went red.
"It was scary."
He said he and his two mates knew straight away what had happened.
"We dragged him (the victim) into the shore and applied a tourniquet (to the victim's injuries)," he said.
Two locals said there had been a lot of bait fish in the area where the attack happened that morning, as well as a pod of dolphins.
"But that's not unusual," one of them said.
He reckoned the last time he had seen a shark at Ballina beaches was 20 years ago and that was at North Wall.
Another local agreed people were more likely to see sharks at Ballina's North Wall.
But the pair, and the other surfers in the water at the time of the attack, said they hadn't seen any sharks off Ballina beaches recently.
It was at Ballina's North Wall where 16-year-old Peter Edmonds was attacked by what was believed to be a bull shark while bodyboarding in April 2008. He passed away from his injuries.
This was the second shark attack off Ballina shire beaches in two days, with an attack at Lennox Head's Seven Mile Beach on Sunday.