Search continues for shark attack victim
Emergency services continue to search for local teacher Simon Baccanello, who is presumed dead after he was mauled by a shark on Saturday morning.
The 46-year-old was surfing at Walkers Rock, near Elliston on South Australia’s west coast, when he was attacked by the shark and disappeared.
First responders rushed to the scene at 10.10am after witnesses reported the incident but they were unable to locate Mr Baccanello.
South Australia Police revealed they believe the teacher is dead due to witness reports and the recovered wreckage of his surfboard.
A witness, 22-year-old Jaiden Miller, was in the water when the bloody attack occurred.
He told the Adelaide Advertiser that Mr Baccanello’s surfboard “tombstoned” 15-minutes after the attack.
He estimated the board was approximately 500m offshore at the time.
“(We) couldn’t see him,” he said.
“He was gone. (We) saw the shark just thrashing around out the back. The shark’s obviously let go and come back and got him for a third time.”
Local patrols continued to scour the beaches on Sunday for the surfer with assistance from the Water Operations Unit, PolAir crews, State Emergency Services members, and members of the community.
The extensive search efforts, involving both boats and helicopters, are expected to continue until sunset and resume on Monday.
Superintendent Paul Bahr, Officer in Charge of Eyre and Western Local Service Area thanked the local community for their help during the search.
“It’s not easy when it’s a local involved but we commend their strength and their want to assist,” he said.
“We will continue to search with the assistance of local emergency services and other resources.”
Witnesses at the scene told The Advertiser Mr Baccanello was the “greatest guy”.
“He’s just been a good teacher for the kids,” a local said.
“In a small town like this everyone gets affected by it.”
No one else was injured in the shocking shark attack, police confirmed.
Elliston is located about 650km from Adelaide, and is a spot loved by tourists for its pristine beaches.