The surfing world is mourning a tragic death today after a 41-year-old Japanese national was killed by a shark in Australia.
Tadashi Nakahara was sitting on his board, waiting on a wave near Shelley Beach in Ballina, New South Wales – a popular tourist destination – when the shark, said to be a ‘three to four-metre great white’, ripped off both his legs and left him bleeding to death.
The experienced Nakahara was surfing with a group of friends, and while they rushed him to shore immediately, they were ultimately unable to help.
Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay praised their actions, and admitted they did all they could to try and save his life.
“I think their actions are commendable,” he said. “Here we have a situation where [there is] a significant amount of blood in the water. They took to rescue the surfer [and] bring him on shore.
“He had leg injuries that were substantial. They were injuries that led to a significant loss of blood. They did their best and unfortunately couldn’t stop the blood loss.
“It’s obviously a stressful situation for them to go through. [We need to now] determine whether that shark still poses a threat.”
The victim worked at a surf shop nearby, and had lived in the area for the past year. He was well known and well-liked by the locals, some of whom witnessed the horrific attack.
“The Shark just came up between a bunch of surfers. They weren’t even that far out…”
Allan Baldock, a nearby surfer who saw the incident, told The Guardian: “It went whack, and he was thrown in the air. It must have been a huge, huge shark,” while a local cafe owner named only as Karen told: “It just came up between a bunch of surfers. They weren’t even that far out.”
The beaches have now been closed as Lifeguards patrol between Ballin and Lennox Head in New South Wales looking for the shark.
While attacks in Australia usually average at one fatality per year, this incident was the sixth shark-related death in the past 12 months Down Under. Take extra care if you’re surfing in Australian waters.