Shark attack footage: HUNT for shark that killed Sydney man is launched - so will they slaughter it?

Shark attack footage: HUNT for shark that killed Sydney man is launched – so will they slaughter it?

A frantic search for a 4.5m great white shark has been launched after the beast mauled a swimmer at a popular Sydney beach and vanished just moments later.

The man was taking an afternoon swim off Little Bay Beach on Wednesday when his life came to a brutal end in Sydney’s first fatal shark attack in 60 years.

Regarded by locals as one of the best kept secrets in Sydney’s east, the beach was packed with dozens of afternoon swimmers, paddle boarders and rock fishermen. 

The swimmer suffered ‘catastrophic injuries’ after being eaten alive by the shark in front of a crowd of spectators as Surf Life Saving reveals little could be done. 

A frantic search has ensued for a 4.5m great white shark that killed an unsuspecting swimmer at Little Bay Beach on Wednesday (pictured, NSW Police search the water's edge on Thursday)

A frantic search has ensued for a 4.5m great white shark that killed an unsuspecting swimmer at Little Bay Beach on Wednesday (pictured, NSW Police search the water’s edge on Thursday)

The swimmer suffered 'catastrophic injuries' after being eaten alive by the shark in front of a crowd of spectators (pictured, a local returns to Little Bay Beach on Thursday morning)

The swimmer suffered ‘catastrophic injuries’ after being eaten alive by the shark in front of a crowd of spectators (pictured, a local returns to Little Bay Beach on Thursday morning)

The swimmer suffered 'catastrophic injuries' after being eaten alive by the shark in front of a crowd of spectators (pictured, police officers at the scene on Thursday)

The swimmer suffered ‘catastrophic injuries’ after being eaten alive by the shark in front of a crowd of spectators (pictured, police officers at the scene on Thursday)

CEO Steven Pearce said the 4.5m beast struck just under a rock shelf in full view of traumatised witnesses who watched in horror as the ocean turned red. 

‘We had our Life Saver helicopter on the scene within minutes, our base is on the headland above, and when they arrived there was nothing they could do,’ he said. 

‘Obviously there was evidence of what has been a horrific attack and then we had our Randwick lifeguards and lifesavers on jet-skis on the water very quickly, again, there was nothing they could do but patrol the area and try to locate the animal.’

Mr Pearce said the ‘huge shark’ couldn’t be detected by the Life Saving helicopter still circling over the popular beach minutes after the attack. 

He said several bull sharks had been recently tagged not far from where the swimmer was mauled, according to the Department of Primary Industries.

The man was taking an afternoon swim off Little Bay Beach on Wednesday when his life came to a brutal end (pictured, the scene is cordoned off as police launch efforts on Thursday)

The man was taking an afternoon swim off Little Bay Beach on Wednesday when his life came to a brutal end (pictured, the scene is cordoned off as police launch efforts on Thursday)

Drones have been granted access to fly above the beach as smart drum lines designed to send an alert when a shark is present are also installed (pictured, police at the scene on Wednesday)

Drones have been granted access to fly above the beach as smart drum lines designed to send an alert when a shark is present are also installed (pictured, police at the scene on Wednesday)

Lifesavers on jet-ski's (pictured) will remain at the beach on Thursday as drones are deployed to search for the shark responsible for the fatal attack

Lifesavers on jet-ski’s (pictured) will remain at the beach on Thursday as drones are deployed to search for the shark responsible for the fatal attack

All beaches in the Randwick council area – including popular spots like Clovelly, Maroubra and Coogee – will be closed on Thursday as the search continues. 

Drones have been granted access to fly above the beach as smart drum lines designed to send an alert when a shark is present are also installed. 

Police were seen scouring the water’s edge on Thursday morning in search of evidence as Mr Pearce assured the public the beach was being supervised. 

He said no form of shark netting could have prevented the horror encounter if a large shark is motivated to attack in the vicinity of swimmers. 

‘Nine out of 10 times when we do patrols we see sharks, and they’re often just swimming by… tragically this shark was intent on causing harm,’ he said.  

In the moments after the attack - which occurred about 4:30pm on Wednesday - the NSW Life Saver helicopter (pictured on Thursday morning) failed to locate the great white shark

In the moments after the attack – which occurred about 4:30pm on Wednesday – the NSW Life Saver helicopter (pictured on Thursday morning) failed to locate the great white shark

Multiple drones, jet-skis and lifesavers will remain on the beach on Thursday and into the weekend following the shock attack - the first in nearly 60 years in Sydney

Multiple drones, jet-skis and lifesavers will remain on the beach on Thursday and into the weekend following the shock attack – the first in nearly 60 years in Sydney

It comes as outraged Sydneysiders took to social media to call for a shark cull in NSW following the fatal encounter, the first in almost 60 years. 

Shark culling refers to a state government policy that allows the deliberate capturing and killing of the animals for the benefit of swimmer safety.

Australia is one of the only countries in the world to actively kill sharks with advocate groups arguing the measure is ineffective and damages marine life.

A permit to harm protected wildlife under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) must be obtained prior to harming animals, as the life of the 4.5m great white responsible for the attack hangs in the balance.

‘Think it’s time for a shark cull,’ one woman wrote on Facebook.

‘Idiotic Shark Protection 1959 still in force, human sacrifices to appease moron minority groups that the government lives in fear of,’ another man tweeted.

‘Cull these predators. Human lives do matter.’ 

Outraged Sydneysiders took to social media to call for a shark cull in NSW following the fatal encounter (pictured, a Life Saver helicopter circles above the beach)

Outraged Sydneysiders took to social media to call for a shark cull in NSW following the fatal encounter (pictured, a Life Saver helicopter circles above the beach)

All beaches in the Randwick council area - including popular spots like Clovelly, Maroubra and Coogee - will be closed on Thursday (pictured, a lifeguard puts up a shark sign at Bondi)

All beaches in the Randwick council area – including popular spots like Clovelly, Maroubra and Coogee – will be closed on Thursday (pictured, a lifeguard puts up a shark sign at Bondi)

The community of Little Bay has been rocked by Sydney's first fatal shark attack in more than 60 years - with locals describing it as a 'calm, beautiful' place (pictured)

The community of Little Bay has been rocked by Sydney’s first fatal shark attack in more than 60 years – with locals describing it as a ‘calm, beautiful’ place (pictured)

The great white – one of the few species of shark dangerous to humans – was classified as a protected species in 1996 by the NSW Government.

Just three years later, their threatened species status was elevated to ‘vulnerable’ to extinction, however the animal is still targeted in shark culling programs.

Other opinionated Aussies argued calls for a NSW shark cull went too far with some reminding other commentators that ‘shark lives matter too’. 

Andy Casagrande, a filmmaker and shark specialist, said Australian policy is ‘infamous for it’s brute-force shark nets and shark culls’ but said these tactics were more likely to attract sharks to populated beaches than repel them.

‘Bottom line, sharks are ocean based apex predators, and if they wanted to, they would hunt and kill humans every day of the year, but they don’t. Humans on the other hand, do hunt and kill sharks every single day of the year,’ he said.

‘The ocean is their home, we are just visitors. I wouldn’t want someone invading my home and killing off members of it,’ one of his followers agreed.

Shark attack footage: HUNT for shark that killed Sydney man is launched - so will they slaughter it? The great white shark was classified as a protected species in 1996 by the NSW Government (pictured, a shark hooked off the coast of Magnetic Island in the Great Barrier Reef)

The great white shark was classified as a protected species in 1996 by the NSW Government (pictured, a shark hooked off the coast of Magnetic Island in the Great Barrier Reef)

Shark attack footage: HUNT for shark that killed Sydney man is launched - so will they slaughter it?

However, one woman said there was a time and place for his advocacy.

‘Andy. Someone has lost a loved one. That’s it. Yes. We love our sharks, but this is not the time nor the platform to promote your message – which I support,’ she wrote.

It comes as shocking footage revealed the predator thrashing around in the ocean and dragging its victim underwater as the sea turned red with blood.

The scenes on Wednesday afternoon were just as confronting for emergency service workers and lifeguards sent out in boats, rescue helicopters and on jet skis, deployed in a frantic search of the swimmer and the killer predator.  

They were alerted of the danger by the swimmer’s ear-piercing screams but could do nothing but watch on in shock as the monster shark ripped him into two and ‘swallow parts of his body’.  

‘Footage clearly shows a body, half a body being taken by a shark,’ a police officer told colleagues over a scanner when human remains were found an hour later.

Police said DNA testing is now needed to formally identify his body. 

Witnesses has recalled the horrifying moment the swimmer was mauled by a great white shark on Wednesday afternoon off Sydney's Little Bay beach

Witnesses has recalled the horrifying moment the swimmer was mauled by a great white shark on Wednesday afternoon off Sydney’s Little Bay beach

The first fatal shark attack in Sydney since 1963 occurred at Buchan Point in Sydney's east

The first fatal shark attack in Sydney since 1963 occurred at Buchan Point in Sydney’s east

SYDNEY BEACHES CLOSED ON THURSDAY 

Little Bay, Malabar, Maroubra, Coogee, Clovelly, La Perouse, Congwong, Little Congwong, Yarra Bay, Frenchmans Bay and Gordons Bay 

The swimmer’s injuries were so catastrophic there was nothing paramedics could have done to save him, even if they got to him sooner. 

Back on shore, dozens of fishermen and beachgoers were still reeling in shock as the desperate hunt for the predator continued.

The tragedy unfolded at Buchan Point, a popular spot for rock fishing and spearfishing between Little Bay and Malabar beaches.

‘Someone just got eaten by a shark. Oh man! Oh no! That’s insane. That’s a great white shark,’ one fisherman can be heard yelling in footage.

‘The person’s still there! 

‘I just saw a four to five metre great white explode on the surface just here on a swimmer and it was like a car landing in the water.

‘F*** man, I heard a scream and the shark was just chomping on his body and the body was in half just off the rocks here.

‘It came back and swallowed parts of his body and that was it. It disappeared.’

Surf rescue workers searched Little Bay Beach for the shark as dawn broke on Thursday morning

Surf rescue workers searched Little Bay Beach for the shark as dawn broke on Thursday morning 

Emergency services (pictured at the scene) launched a desperate search for the swimmer and found human remains an hour later

Emergency services (pictured at the scene) launched a desperate search for the swimmer and found human remains an hour later

The search for the great white shark will continue on Thursday, prompting the closure of at least 11 beaches

The search for the great white shark will continue on Thursday, prompting the closure of at least 11 beaches

The scenes were just as confronting for those involved in the frantic search for the swimmer, including jet skiers (pictured)

The scenes were just as confronting for those involved in the frantic search for the swimmer, including jet skiers (pictured)

Other frantic onlookers on the rocks can be heard swearing and screaming in horror. 

It’s understood the victim was a local who knew the beach well and often swam out towards the headland. 

‘Some guy was swimming and a shark came and attacked him vertically,’ fisherman Kris Linto told Nine News. 

‘We heard a yell and turned around it looked like a car had landed in the water, a big splash then the shark was chomping at the body and there was blood everywhere.

‘It was really bad.’ 

Another shaken witness recalled how the attack lasted just seconds.

‘He was yelling at first, and then when he went down there were so many splashes,’ he told the ABC. ‘The shark wouldn’t stop. It’s very, very upsetting.’

‘He just went down for a swim, enjoying the day, but that shark took his life.’

Fatal shark attacks in Australia since 2020

January 5, 2020: Diver Gary Johnson, 57, was killed by a great white shark while diving with his wife near Esperance in WA

April 6, 2020: Wildlife ranger Zachary Robba, 23, was mauled to death by a shark while swimming off the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland

June 7, 2020: Surfer Rob Pedretti, 60, was killed by a great white shark while he was boarding at Salt Beach near Kingscliff in far northern NSW

July 4 2020: Spearfisher Matthew Tratt, 36, was mauled to death by a suspected great white shark in a ‘provoked’ attack on Fraser Island in Queensland

July 11, 2020: Surfer Mani Hart-Deville, 15, was boarding when he was killed by a suspected great white shark at Wooli Beach, near Grafton on the NSW North Coast

September 8, 2020: Surfer Nick Slater, 46, was mauled to death by a suspected great white at Greenmount Beach on the Gold Coast

October 9, 2020: Father-of-two Andrew Sharpe was killed by a shark while surfing at Kelp Beds in Wylie Bay, near Esperance on WA’s south coast

November 22, 2020: Cable Beach, WA: Charles Cernobori, 59, who worked at a Cable Beach hotel was killed by a 4m suspected tiger shark while bodyboarding 2km north of the main tourist section

November 6, 2021: Paul Millachip, 57, was believed to have been taken by a shark while swimming at a beach in North Fremantle in Perth – with the attack witnessed by multiple people 

January 17, 2022: A swimmer is killed off Little Bay in Sydney’s east, believed to have been attacked by a four-metre-long great white 

 

Swimmers were ordered out of the water after the fatal shark attack at Little Bay Beach (scene pictured) on Wednesday afternoon, a popular spot for family swims

Swimmers were ordered out of the water after the fatal shark attack at Little Bay Beach (scene pictured) on Wednesday afternoon, a popular spot for family swims

Four ambulance road crews and a rescue helicopter with a critical care doctor and a critical care paramedic on board attended the scene in the hope of saving his life. 

‘Unfortunately this person had suffered catastrophic injuries and there wasn’t a lot paramedics could do when we arrived,’ NSW Ambulance Inspector Lucky Phrachanh said.

Police spent several hours at the scene interviewing shocked witnesses and later removed an SUV from the carpark at nearby Malabar Beach.

The search for the shark was later called off for the night, and is due to resume at first light on Thursday.  

The tragedy has rocked the local community as Randwick Council closed all 11 of its beaches for at least 24 hours, including Little Bay.

Shocked witnesses (pictured speaking to police) heard the swimmer's screams in the water

Shocked witnesses (pictured speaking to police) heard the swimmer’s screams in the water

Kris Linto (pictured) was fishing at the time when he witnessed the horrifying shark attack

Kris Linto (pictured) was fishing at the time when he witnessed the horrifying shark attack

Popular swimming spots such as Malabar, Maroubra, Coogee, Clovelly and La Perouse will also be closed along with Congwong, Little Congwong and Yarra Bay beaches, Frenchmans Bay and Gordons Bay.

Many Sydneysiders had hoped to spend Thursday in the ocean with temperatures to reach a balmy 31C. 

Signage and barricades have been installed warning swimmers to stay out of the water.

Little Bay Beach is regarded as one of Sydney’s undiscovered jewels and a ‘secret’ beach popular with locals.

‘The coast is our community’s backyard. Little Bay is normally such a calm, beautiful place enjoyed by families,’ Randwick mayor Dylan Parker said.

‘To lose someone to a shark attack like this is chilling. We are all in shock.

‘Our entire community’s hearts go out to the family of the victim.’ 

Many locals have vowed to avoid the water for a while in the wake of the tragedy. 

The attack unfolded  around 10m from shore at Buchan Point (pictured), a popular spot for rock fishermen

The attack unfolded  around 10m from shore at Buchan Point (pictured), a popular spot for rock fishermen

Police (pictured) spent several hours at the scene on Wednesday night examining the scene and interviewing witnesses

Police (pictured) spent several hours at the scene on Wednesday night examining the scene and interviewing witnesses

A local woman who regularly goes swimming around the area said the attack ‘made her think twice’. 

‘So many locals go out swimming here, every day, and I’ve never seen a shark,’ she told Daily Mail Australia. ‘It’s terrifying’. 

The latest tragedy comes after the death of a father and son rock fishing at the same site two weeks ago.

Peter and his son Mahan, 10, were fishing on a rock face at Little Bay on the last day of the school holidays on January 31 when they were dragged into the water by a freak wave.

‘My husband and my son were just a few steps in front of me and now they are gone forever,’ Peter’s heartbroken wife told the Daily Telegraph.

‘I wish it was me instead of my little boy. I don’t have the will to live.’ 

Sydney's last shark attack claimed the life of television and radio actress Marcia Hathaway (pictured) in 1963 in Middle Harbour

Sydney’s last shark attack claimed the life of television and radio actress Marcia Hathaway (pictured) in 1963 in Middle Harbour

Jet skis were also used in the frantic search for swimmer before human remains were found

Jet skis were also used in the frantic search for swimmer before human remains were found

It’s the first fatal shark attack in Sydney since 1963 when actress Marcia Hathaway, 32, was mauled by while on a boating trip in Sugarloaf Bay in Middle Harbour.

She was attacked by a bull shark in just 30 inches (76cm) of water as her fiancé and friends watched on in horror.

‘I heard Marcia scream ‘oh dear’, and then she was dragged into deep water,’ her fiance Frederick Knight said at the time.

‘I started to run to her and saw the fin of a shark.

‘It seemed to have grabbed her on the calf of her right leg.

‘When I reached Marcia, it struck again and seized her on the thigh.

‘I started to kick the shark and beat it with my fists, most of the struggle is a blank but I remember at one time the shark was between my legs and I seemed to be straddling it.’

The critically injured actress was stretchered in an ambulance, which then broke down while navigating the steep track from the harbour. 

She had stopped breathing by the time a second ambulance arrived.

It was the first fatal shark attack in Sydney in almost 60 years (pictured, rescue helicopters at the scene)

It was the first fatal shark attack in Sydney in almost 60 years (pictured, rescue helicopters at the scene)

Police (pictured at the scene on Wednesday) will liaise with the Department of Primary Industries to investigate the circumstances of the swimmer's tragic death

Police (pictured at the scene on Wednesday) will liaise with the Department of Primary Industries to investigate the circumstances of the swimmer’s tragic death

The police helicopter scoured the area from the air for an hour in search of the shark and swimmer

The police helicopter scoured the area from the air for an hour in search of the shark and swimmer

The fatal shark attack happened 10 metres away from rocks at Buchan Point, a popular spot for fishermen

The fatal shark attack happened 10 metres away from rocks at Buchan Point, a popular spot for fishermen

Police will liaise with the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the swimmer. 

‘DPI extends sincere condolences to the family and friends and first responders at this tragic time’, a spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia.

‘DPI will continue to work with NSW Police and SLS NSW to monitor the area and provide any technical advice and resources if required, including deploying SMART drumlines in the area.’ 

The department has also advised a bull shark was detected 15km further north near Bondi an hour after the attack. It has not been confirmed the shark is linked to the attack. 

A SharkSmart app provided by the New South Wales government alerts swimmers and surfers in real time when a shark is detected nearby. 

Paramedics say there was nothing they could do as the swimmer suffered catastrophic injuries

Paramedics say there was nothing they could do as the swimmer suffered catastrophic injuries

How common are shark attacks in Australia? 

Australia’s coastline is more than 25,000km long and around 170 of the 400 species of sharks inhabit Australian waters. 

Shark attacks can occur at any time of year in Australia but are more common during the summer months from November to April when millions of people flock to the beaches during the warmer weather. 

In 2020, Australia reported 22 unprovoked shark attacks which made up 38 per cent of the worldwide total. Of these, eight were fatal and made up half of all fatal shark attacks worldwide in 2020. 

On average, 77 shark attacks occur worldwide each year, with the US usually reporting the highest number. In 2020, Florida represented 48 per cent of all US shark attacks. 

In 2021, the Florida Museum of Natural History’s investigated 137 alleged shark attacks worldwide.

The US made up most of the attacks, reporting 47, one of which proved fatal when a surfer was killed – possibly by a great white – on Christmas Eve off the central coast of California, authorities said. The state of Florida reported more than half of all attacks in the US in 2021 – with a total of 28. 

There were 12 recorded shark attacks in Australia in 2021 and figures show three of these proved fatal. 

Paul Millachip, 57, was believed to have been the last person killed during a shark attack in Australia in 2021 before today when he was taken by a shark while swimming at a beach in North Fremantle in Perth in November – with the attack witnessed by multiple people.

The fatal attack followed warnings that shark attacks are increasing.

In the 1990s there were 82 recorded shark attacks in Australia, which jumped to 161 in the following decade.

From 2010 to 2020 there were 220 and in 2021 there were three deadly attacks reported in Australia.

Bond’s University researcher Dr Daryl McPhee said the rise in attacks worldwide was down to a number of factors including more people being on the water doing activities, in more remote locations, and also warmer oceans are forcing shark and their food supply to different areas.

‘There is a long term trend of an increasing number of shark bites in Australia and overseas,’ Dr McPhee told The Project.

‘Sharks are part of the marine environment and if we could track where every shark was you would find there would be a large shark on most popular beaches most days of the year.’

‘So we need to find ways to co-exist.’

Professor Callum Brown from Macquarie University said despite the increase in shark attacks they are still exceptionally rare.

He added that old school methods of shark control such as nets, drum lines, and culls were being replaced with newer methods which are potentially more accurate.

One such method is to deploy drones which scan the water and send images to an artificial intelligence computer which can accurately spot sharks.

There are also personal deterrents which work by emitting an electrical pulse but these have the be used within metres from a shark to be effective.

And finally there are camouflage wetsuit and surfboard decals which can prevent surfers from appearing like seals to hungry sharks.

‘Our fear is really, it’s driven by guts. Not really by any data or any sort of realistic estimate of what the actual risk is. You should be more scared of getting in your car.’ he said. 

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