The chances of finding a surfer taken by a shark remain slim, as locals demand action in the latest attack to rock a West Australian coastal town.
The chances of finding a surfer taken by a shark remain slim, as locals demand action in the latest attack to rock a West Australian coastal town.

Surfer missing after shark attack

Hopes are fading for a West Australian surfer who was taken by a shark on Friday.

Andrew Sharpe was surfing about 10.45am at Kelp Beds near Esperance when he was bitten and dragged below the surface. A surfboard with bite marks later washed ashore but the father-of-two is yet to be found.

It's the fifth incident in the area in just seven years, with a teenage girl killed at the same spot three years ago.

Locals said the shark-infested waters were "too dangerous" for surfers.

"Sharks are always prowling these waters at Esperance for years and for decades. We don't swim in these waters too far out from the shallow waters," Denise Colbung said.

Wayne Brennand said the Kelp Beds should be "closed permanently to surfing".

"Honestly, how many more people have to suffer?" he said.

Esperance locals say the waters in the Wylie Bay area are crawling with sharks. Picture: Joshua Van Staden/JV Media
Esperance locals say the waters in the Wylie Bay area are crawling with sharks. Picture: Joshua Van Staden/JV Media

Esperance Senior Sergeant Justin Tarasinski said up to eight surfers were in the water at the time of the attack.

"The surfboard washed up nearby to where the attack occurred and with obvious signs of shark attack," he told reporters on Friday.

"The chances of survival are obviously pretty slim considering some of the accounts that have been provided to us."

The search, involving jet skis and boats, was called off due to a lack of daylight Friday evening, but will resume Saturday morning, with police divers also expected to join the desperate search.

WA Premier Mark McGowan says the attack was very sad. Picture: Trevor Collens/The West Australian
WA Premier Mark McGowan says the attack was very sad. Picture: Trevor Collens/The West Australian

 

Premier Mark McGowan described it as a "very sad and potentially tragic" situation.

Shire of Esperance president Ian Mickel said the community was saddened by the tragedy.

"It's extremely sad to hear there's been a shark attack again," he said.

"We've had a lot of attacks over the last seven years. It's just really, really disappointing."

Esperance Ocean Safety and Support committee member David Swan told NCA NewsWire everyone was devastated.

"Our thoughts are with the family and close friends," he said.

"Everyone's in a bit of shock and feeling very sad."

Kelp Beds is about 15km east of Esperance along Wylie Bay.

Originally published as Surfer attacked by shark named


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