Swimmers returned to the surf at Dreamtime Beach at Fingal yesterday morning, even though it was still closed after Sunday’s shark attack.
Swimmers returned to the surf at Dreamtime Beach at Fingal yesterday morning, even though it was still closed after Sunday’s shark attack. CRYSTAL SPENCER

Swimmers take on Great White shark

SWIMMERS yesterday risked an encounter with the 3.5 metre great white shark thought to have attacked surferJonathan Beard at Dreamtime Beach on Sunday, taking to the water before the beach had officially reopened.

Suzette Collins was happy to take her chances, swimming at the Fingal beach despite it still being closed.

Ms Collins, from Nerang, swam at the beach with a group of children aged six, 10, 13 and 14. She had been joking with the kids that they ‘were going swimming with the sharks’ all morning.

Further down the coast, there were about six shark sightings at Cape Byron yesterday. However, Northern NSW Lifeguard co-ordinator Stephen Leahy said that was no cause for concern.

“Lifeguards at Tallow and Wategos beaches were warned about the sharks, but this is fairly normal for that area, and there were no swimmers nearby,” he said.

At Fingal yesterday morning, about 40 swimmers and boardriders were in the water just a day after the shark attack.

Mr Beard, of Brisbane, was yesterday recovering in the Gold Coast Hospital after undergoing surgery on his leg.

Investigations by Department of Primary Industries biologist and Tweed Lifeguard supervisor Scott McCartney revealed a 3.5m great white was responsible for taking the big chunk out of Mr Beard’s leg. The attack happened about 9.30am on Sunday while he was surfing with friends 70 metres out to sea.

“Mr Beard was able to tell us what occurred out in the water and we have been able to view pictures of the wound,” Mr Leahy said. “We then inspected his surfboard and we could see very visible teeth impressions on the bottom deck of the board. The DPI biologist, using a number of calculations and models, was able to positively identify the type and size of the shark.”

Experts say great whites are not known to linger. The beach will reopen this morning.
Mr Leahy said there would be no hunt for the shark.

“It is not our policy to do that and it is not the Government’s policy to hunt sharks. But we’ll continue to work with the Department of Primary Industries to make sure the beaches remain safe,” he said.

Helicopter searches failed to find the shark.


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