A 60-year-old surfer died after a 10-foot-long great white shark bit his left thigh Sunday morning in New South Wales. According to Australian media outlet AAP, two men at the scene helped Rob Pedretti after the attack by fighting off the shark and bringing Pedretti to shore while the shark continued to circle them.
Once the man was onshore emergency workers tried to help him but he died on the beach.
According to Sky News, NSW Police Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe told reporters: “The male was taken out of the water with the assistance of some other surfers in the area. But tragically he has passed away at the scene. He suffered a significant injury to his left leg. He said the action of the two men who helped the 60-year-old man was “nothing short of heroic.”
Pedretti was identified several hours after the attack. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a friend of Pedretti, Darsly Powell described him as, “a water man who loves the ocean, loves all the creatures,” she said.
The Beach Remained Closed Monday After Sunday’s Attack as The Shark Lingered for Several Hours. Monday Morning Another Shark Was Sighted in the Area
Officials initially closed the beaches for 24 hours after the incident. According to AAP the shark lingered in the area for several hours after the attack but eventually swam away. There is no intention to hunt and kill the shark, they reported.
On Monday morning the area was scoured by drones and surf skis, and another large shark was discovered. It’s not known if it is the same shark, according to ABC, but the beaches remain closed on Monday to be on the safe side.
Jimmy Keough from Surf Lifesaving New South Wales told reporters they’re keeping the beach closed, “Just in regard to the behavior of the animal yesterday, post the attack, and then also there was a further sighting at Fingal this morning,” he said.
The shark that bit the surfer was confirmed to be a great white by a shark biologist with Australia’s Department of Primary Industries, who made his determination by looking at photos, according to the NSW government site.
NSW Ambulance Inspector Terence Savage told Australia’s AAP it’s a “dreadful” situation for everyone involved.
“When you get a call to attend a shark attack, you never really know the full extent of the damage until you get on scene,” he said in a statement.
Only 12 Species of Sharks are Known to Attack Humans, But Experts Say Sharks are Opportunists, Not Out For Human Flesh
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there are 300 species of sharks and of those only 12 types have been known to attack humans. Of those 12, the Florida Museum, affiliated with The University of Florida reports, “Three species have been repetitively implicated as the primary attackers of man: the white shark, tiger shark and bull shark.
Still, the Florida Museum reports that there are roughly 70-100 shark attacks a year, causing about 5 deaths.
The 10-foot long shark that attacked Pedretti may not have been fully grown. According to Smithsonian Ocean, Great Whites can grow to be 20 feet long, but that’s not common. They say the average male grows to 11 to 13 feet while the female is usually 15 to 16 feet long.
NOAA reports that when sharks attack it is usually because they are confused or curious.