Surfer Killed By Shark At Ballina

9 Feb 2015 12 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

Photo via Sydney Morning Herald

Photo via Sydney Morning Herald

Tragic news has come out of the North Coast of NSW this morning after a Japanese surfer aged 41 has died after reportedly having both legs bitten off by what is believed to have been a Great White Shark at 7.50AM AEDT. The incident occurred just off the rocks at the South end of Shelly Beach, Ballina.

Coastalwatch's Shelly Beach, Ballina surf cam, as part of the CoastalCOMS network captured the incident as it happened. Surf Lifesaving NSW via SurfCom (SLSA’s communication system) used the surf cam to assist with the rescue and safety operations immediately after the incident. Surf Lifesaving NSW have supplied NSW Police with video to help with their investigation. Coastalwatch and CoastalCOMS – who license the cameras and footage – will not be releasing any footage as is company policy around fatalities. Coastalwatch cameras and services are often utilised by emergency services and lifesaving bodies who have direct access and control of the surf cams to help with safety and rescue.

READ THE OFFICIAL STATEMENT REGARDING SURF CAM FOOTAGE

The Daily Telegraph is reporting the surfer to be Tadashi Nakahara. He is said to have lived in Ballina for over a year and was well known as a keen surfer amongst the local surf community, some of whom attempted to save him, dragging him to the beach following the incident and performing first aid. Their actions are being described as heroic.

The shark is estimated to be 3.5m-4m long.

Beaches from Lennox Heads to South Ballina have been closed, and lifeguards from Surf Lifesaving NSW are currently searching for the shark by jet ski, jet boat, IRB and helicopter.

The fatal encounter has come just a day after a shark bit a surfer at Seven Mile beach, near Byron Bay on Sunday morning.

There is speculation mounting that the attacks may be related, however Southern Cross University Marine Biology lecturer Dr Aniel Buscher has told the Daily Telegraph, “It would most certainly not be the same shark … There is still only one or two incidents a year and those statistics have remained the same for the past 20 years.”

Whenever a surfer dies doing the activity we love, it is a very sad day for surfing. Few communities rally around a tragedy like surfing does, regardless of where the surfer was from, where they were surfing, or how the tragedy unfolded. Today we mourn a fellow surfer, and will think of him on the next wave we are lucky enough to ride.

Photo via Facebook.

Photo via Facebook.


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