Fatal shark attack may have been caught on camera

Shelly Beach in Ballina was closed after a japanese national died in a shark attack. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Shelly Beach in Ballina was closed after a japanese national died in a shark attack. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

UPDATE 3.30pm: POLICE have hailed a group of surfers as heroes after they swam through bloodstained surf at a Ballina beach to drag a man fatally attacked by a shark to shore.

Fronting a throng of national media, Richmond police Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay gave an update on this morning's fatal shark attack at Speeds Reef, between Shelly and Lighthouse Beach.

Speaking from Ballina Police Station, Det Insp Lindsay said it's believed the victim, a Japanese national, was surfing with up to four men when he was killed this morning.

He said the man was initially believed to be aged in his 20s, but police investigations had revealed he was actually 41-years-old.

"Two (of the surfers) were very close to him. Those two other surfers rendered assistance and brought him to shore," Det Insp Lindsay said.

"A further two other surfers who were in the area also paddled in and assisted to try and attend to the injuries of this surfer.

"I think their actions are commendable. Here we have a situation where (there's) a significant amount of blood in the water, they took to rescue this surfer, bring him in on shore.

"They did their best and unfortunately they couldn't stop the blood loss.

"It's obviously a stressful situation for them to go through."

Det Insp Lindsay said a shark expert had been called in to determine what species was responsible for the attack and to "determine whether that shark still poses a threat to humans".

Police will seek scientific advice on what should be done if the shark is found, Det Insp Lindsay said.

Det Insp Lindsay said the initial video police obtained of the attack only displays its aftermath.

"We're still looking at it, but what it appears to capture is a large amount of blood in the water," he said.

Det Insp Lindsay said police may have access to other footage of the attack.

Police believe the victim had been living in the region for about a year, but are attempting to contact family in Japan through the consulate to clarify information.

UPDATE 1.10pm: POLICE believe the fatal shark attack of a surfer at Ballina's Shelly Beach this morning was caught on camera.

The information came to light in a press conference held by Richmond Local Area Command Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay about 12pm.

Det Insp Lindsay said about 10am this morning a "tragic situation" occurred involving "a very large shark" and a man believed to be aged in his 20s.

It's understood the man involved lost both his legs and despite the efforts of assisting surfers, including performing CPR, he died of blood loss.

"We have a young male we think is a Japanese national, but enquiries are still ongoing, around 9.45 this morning has been the victim of a shark attack," Det Insp Lindsay said.

"As a result of that attack we believe he's now deceased and we are now concentrating on searching the area and seeing if we can locate that shark and any remains of this tragic situation.

"There was quite a number of witnesses we've been talking to. We believe that either the attack, or just prior to the attack, was captured on video.

"Someone was videoing the scene. We've taken possession of that video and we'll now be preparing a brief for the coroner."

Det Insp Lindsay said the Department of Primary Industries, surf lifesavers and New South Wales Fisheries were helping police search for the shark.

He said the shark had not been spotted since the attack, but people should stay out of the water for 24 hours.

Det Insp Lindsay would not say what would happen to the shark if it is found.

Police were interviewing witnesses at the time of the conference, including the people believed to have dragged the victim from the surf, Det Insp Lindsay said.

"I'm told the people did a really good job in trying to save this person and tried utilising tourniquets to stop the bleeding. This is what people should be trying to do," he said.

"At this initial stage we believe he died because of lack of blood despite some really heroic efforts by the people that have tried to save him."

Det Insp Lindsay said the man's injuries were "substantial", but would not confirm he lost both legs in the attack.

It was mentioned the man was surfing relatively close to shore before the attack.

As the press conference finished, a small crowd of onlookers still sat gazing out at Shelly Beach's crashing waves, while a pod of dolphins gracefully dipped through the water near where the victim was attacked.

Beaches have been closed between South Ballina and Lennox Head.


UPDATE 12.05pm: SURF life savers are urging people to stay out of the water following this morning's fatal shark attack at Shelly Beach.

NSW Surf Life Saving manager, Andy Kent, said lifeguards had been stationed at all beaches in the Ballina Shire to warn people to keep out of the water.

"This is obviously a very serious incident and we would ask that the public follow the directions of emergency service workers," he said.

"Our thoughts go out to the man's family and friends, who will dealing with this tragedy."

Mr Kent said the victim was a man in his 20s.

Meanwhile the search for the shark is continuing, with surf life savers on inflatable rescue boats and jet skis. The Ballina Jet Boat rescue crew is also involved with the incident.

The scene at Shelly Beach after a fatal shark attack this morning.
The scene at Shelly Beach after a fatal shark attack this morning. Graham Broadhead

UPDATE 11.05am: BEACHES between South Ballina have been closed in the wake of a fatal shark attack at Ballina this morning.

The attack, the second in as many days, came just before 10am and is understood to have taken both the legs of a young man surfing on the beach.

Other surfers helped get the man to the beach and he was given first aid, but died from his injuries.

The attack comes after a Suffolk Park man was bitten on the back while surfing on Seven Mile Beach at Lennox Head yesterday.

UPDATE 10.50am: THE Shelly Beach shark attack victim has died, police have confirmed.

It is understood the man - a local surfer - was fatally injured and lost both of his legs in the attack.

Three young surfers pulled him from the water before paramedics arrived.

Surfers who were in the water at the time said they saw the shadow of the shark and estimated it to be 3.5m-4m long.


INITIAL REPORT: A PATIENT is in a critical condition on Shelly Beach at Ballina after a reported shark attack.

NSW Ambulance media has confirmed that paramedics are on the scene treating a person in a critical condition.

A spokeswoman said the gender or age of the victim could not be confirmed at this stage.

More to come.

Topics:  editors picks shark shark attack

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