Search finds no sign of shark

RIP TADASHI NAKAHARA: Neil Fitzgerald, of the Gold Coast, mourns the loss of his mate. The surfer died after being attacked by a shark at Shelly Beach, Ballina, on Monday morning. People have been visiting the site of the attack, to leave flowers and other memorials (above right) to the popular Japanese national.
RIP TADASHI NAKAHARA: Neil Fitzgerald, of the Gold Coast, mourns the loss of his mate. The surfer died after being attacked by a shark at Shelly Beach, Ballina, on Monday morning. People have been visiting the site of the attack, to leave flowers and other memorials (above right) to the popular Japanese national. Marc Stapelberg

POLICE and emergency services scoured the shoreline from Seven Mile Beach to South Ballina yesterday after Monday's brutal shark attack that claimed the life of popular Japanese ex-pat Tadashi Nakahara.

Ballina mayor David Wright said two days of searching had turned up no sightings of the animal.

Conditions worsened overnight into Tuesday with visibility too poor to spot any shark activity in the water.

"The only sighting of the shark was the attack itself. That was caught on camera... whatever species it is, it's a three to four metre shark."

Investigators are also working with a Department of Primary Industries marine expert to identify whether the predator was a great white as many believe, or another species of large shark.

Lifesavers and police will make a further decision this morning on whether to open the beach today.

Meanwhile, NSW Premier Mike Baird, who was visiting Ballina, hailed the act of bravery of the people who put their lives at risk trying to save Mr Nakahara immediately after the attack off Speeds Reef, between Shelly and Lighthouse beaches.

It's understood one man, a few metres from the surfer, helped bring his severely injured body back to shore while others paddled into the bloodied water to help.

With two major arteries severed, it's estimated the surfer died due to blood loss in as little as one minute.

Mr Baird said his government had recently announced a trial of sonar which gives a direct signal to lifeguards when a shark is detected in an area.

"This technology does seem that it would make a difference and we are fast-tracking that and doing all we can," he said.

"Events such as yesterday remind us that the more we can do, the better."

But the Premier said there were no plans to use drum lines or culling methods favoured by Western Australia, despite two fatalities within the last six months putting the North Coast on par with the west in terms of fatal, unprovoked shark attacks.

Cr Wright also ruled out Ballina Shire Council "going after" the shark, saying he was against any kind of targeted culling.

"I don't believe we should willy-nilly get rid of sharks."

He argued that once the beaches were reopened, it would be safe for swimmers to go back.

"I think everything that can be done is being done."



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