News

Shark attack rekindles memories for 1979 rescuer

LUCKY TO BE ALIVE: Bill Sylvester came to the rescue of Michael Oliver in 1979.
LUCKY TO BE ALIVE: Bill Sylvester came to the rescue of Michael Oliver in 1979.

THE fatal attack on Tuesday is almost a mirror-image of an attack that occurred at the Pass in 1979, pioneer diving instructor, Bill Sylvester said.

Mr Sylvester, who now lives at Alstonville, rescued 18-year-old Michael Oliver on September 14, 1979 when Michael was attacked on the right leg by a shark.

The young man survived, but the memories live on.

"I can still remember him calling for help; there was this big splash and then his call," Mr Sylvester said

"The difference is one boy was lucky (to have survived).

"We were able to get to Michael to stem the bleeding in time.

"There are many parallels to what happened this week, and it should ring bells for Byron Bay to be careful in September when bait fish attract sharks into the bay.

"This time of year you get a lot of small bait fishing running - mostly pilchards, and the rain may also have seen mullets come in from the river.

"I am not convinced the shark in either attack was a great white. In both cases, the shark let go (of the victim). It wasn't vicious like a pointer attack.

"I think what we have to remember is that the number of fatalities are very low in numbers considering the number of people who swim here."

LUCKY TO BE ALIVE: Bill Sylvester came to the rescue of Michael Oliver in 1979.
LUCKY TO BE ALIVE: Bill Sylvester came to the rescue of Michael Oliver in 1979.

Topics:  byron bay, editors picks, shark attack




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