A 55-year-old surfer is missing, feared dead, after shocked beachgoers witnessed a suspected great white shark attack, this week.
South Australia Police released a press release stating that police were searching for the remains of a missing surfer after a great white shark had attacked him.
Tod Gendle, 55, was surfing with friends when a witness said a 13-foot great white shark attacked him.
Police said the incident occurred around 10. 20 a.m. on Tuesday near Granites Beach, south of Streaky Bay, an area known for its links to great white sharks.
“Eyre and Western Police immediately responded and initiated a search with the assistance of Police Water Operations, PolAir, State Emergency Service (SES) and local volunteers,” the force said.
Officers have still found no trace of Gendle.
Several surfers were in the water at the time of the attack, witnesses told 7News.
A witness said that the shark had “grabbed” Gendle, pulled back, and then pulled him down.
Jeff Schmucker, a fellow surfer who took out his jetski to search for Gendle, said that he only found a surfboard marked with large bite marks.
Beachgoers, including children, watched the attack, reported 7News. “There’s kids on the rocks, everywhere. A witness said that the kids were beside themselves, devastated.
Search crews have since recovered part of his board and a piece of his wetsuit, news.com.au reported.
South Australia police said the area was known for shark activity, adding that “anyone who will be surfing or taking to the water needs to be aware of the risks,” per 7News.
“It’s generally well known that this is an area frequented by big sharks. The force stated that there have been a few attacks in the past.
Great whites can grow to 21 feet long and weigh 4,500 pounds
Australia has one of the highest rates of shark attacks around the world, with 143 bites occurring off of its shores between 2012 and 2021, according to the Florida Museum’s International Shark Attack File (ISAF), which describes itself as “the world’s only scientifically documented, comprehensive database of all known shark attacks.”
Simon Nellist, a 35-year-old scuba diving instructor, was killed by a great white shark in what the ISAF classified as a “provoked incident” off the coast of Sydney earlier this year.
The great white shark is the largest predatory fish in the world, and it can grow to 21 feet long and weigh 4,500 pounds, according to National Geographic.
Younger great whites can usually be found in coastal areas and estuaries, while adults usually live farther out at sea.
But mature adults have been known to hunt shorelines if there are food sources such as seals, per National Geographic.
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