A surfer has been killed by a shark on Australia’s Gold Coast for the first time in 60 years.
Beach camera footage captured the terrifying moment Nick Slater, 46, was dragged under by a shark on Tuesday evening in Queensland, leaving a tooth and a large bite mark in his surfboard.
Mr Slater was pulled by surfers to the shore of tourist spot Greenmount Beach, in Coolangatta, after spotting his body lying motionless near his board.
Officials are working to determine whether a dead tiger shark later found tangled in a net close to the beach was responsible for the rare attack, said Queensland’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Mr Slater was attacked at about 5pm local time and suffered severe leg wounds. Paramedics confirmed he was dead at the scene.
Jade Parker was one of several surfers who spotted Mr Slater’s body and helped lifeguards bring him to shore.
They found a 1.6-inch tooth lodged in the victim’s board, which Mr Parker said was from ‘an obvious white pointer’ – a great white shark.
He told Seven Network television: ‘It was a good size bite to the board. I do not want to get to the gory parts, but he was in a bad way. He was not conscious.
‘It looked like he had already pretty much passed away at that point in time,’ he added.
Surfer Leo Cabral was filming his son, 13, in the water when he heard people screaming ‘shark, shark, shark’.
He told 9News: ‘I looked around and thought maybe it’s a dolphin. I looked again at my son and with my camera, I zoomed in next to him to his left and I saw a board and the guy was laying down in the water.’
Another witness who was in the water nearby said he first realised something was wrong when he saw around ’50-60 seagulls’ gathering above the waves, which he said was ‘unusual’.
He told the broadcaster: ‘All of a sudden I heard this lady screaming.’
Surfers and swimmers have been urged not to go into the water from Burleigh to the New South Wales border until further notice.
Mr Slater’s death is the second fatal shark attack at one of Queensland’s 85 beaches that have been protected by nets and drum lines since as early as 1962, the state government said.
The first was a 21-year-old swimmer who was mauled by more than one bull shark off a netted beach on North Stradbroke Island, north of the Gold Coast, in 2006.
Before nets were put in place, the last fatal shark attack off a Gold Coast beach – 24 of which are now netted – was in 1958.
Shark nets, which are 610 feet long and 20 feet deep, are suspended from floats and run parallel to beaches. Sharks can swim under the nets and around their ends.
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