Australia shark attack: Surfer killed after both of his legs were ripped off on Shelly beach

It is the second attack in as many days in the coastal area, though the previous attack was not fatal

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Monday 09 February 2015 12:10 GMT
Shelly Beach has been closed following the attack
Shelly Beach has been closed following the attack

A surfer has been killed in a shark attack on Australia’s east coast after both his legs were torn off while he sat on his board.

The man had been waiting for a wave when the shark appeared behind him and bit down on the back of his board and his legs, according to David Wright, mayor of the New South Wales town of Ballina, where the attack occurred.

Officials have not released the man’s name, but stated he was a 41-year-old Japanese national. He has been named locally as Tadashi Nakahara, however, and is believed to have been living in the area for around 12 months, working at a surf shop and as a cleaner at hotel.

The surfer's friends who witnessed the attack claim the shark was a great white and around 3.5 metres long, according to local media.

While Shelly Beach has been closed along with a larger stretch of the coastline in order for officials to search for the shark, another attack victim was being treated at a hospital after suffering lacerations while surfing the day before.

Jabez Reitman, 35, was attacked by a shark on Sunday just 12 miles south of Ballina at Seven Mile Beach, near Byron Bay.

The surfer was bitten by what he described as a seven to 10 ft shark while he was in the water, leaving him with a cut on his back and puncture wound on his buttocks.

“I just freaked out,” he told reporters while being transferred from an ambulance to a hospital on Sunday.

A lifeguard stands on Shelly Beach while a search rescue boat scours the sea

“I thought it was a dolphin at first until I started feeling and realised it was pretty significant lacerations.

“I should’ve stayed in bed,” he added.

Reitman was later transferred from Byron Bay Gold Coast University Hospital, which reported his condition as stable.

Ballina mayor Wright said that given the similarity and the proximity of the attacks, he believed they were both linked.

In September last year, a 52-year-old British ex-pat was killed in what was believed to be a great white shark attack at Clarkes Beach in New South Wales.

Additional reporting by AP

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