Shark attack search finds pieces of wetsuit, surfboard

·2-min read
Ben Macmahon/AAP PHOTOS

A strip of wetsuit material and small pieces of possibly a surfboard have been recovered as the search continues for a South Australian man attacked by a shark and feared dead.

Teacher Simon Baccanello was at the back of a group of about a dozen surfers at Walkers Rock Beach on Eyre Peninsula on Saturday morning when he was attacked.

Efforts to find the 46-year-old over the weekend failed and resumed on Monday, with police and volunteers concentrating on areas of the coast near where the incident occurred.

They later reported finding what appeared to be a piece of wetsuit material and some small pieces of polystyrene that could be from a surfboard.

The items will be forensically examined.

Police said they would continue the search over coming days.

"We'll be doing the beaches around Walkers Rock and we'll be checking for any signs that might point to what occurred," Superintendent Paul Bahr told ABC Radio on Monday.

"We continued the search along the shore along Walkers Rock yesterday. We did find a few items of interest that we've now collected.

"We are in the process of putting together a report which will go to the coroner."

Supt Bahr said crews were searching the high-tide marks, with the help of volunteers, for any more debris.

Saturday's incident occurred near a reef break popular with surfers in an area with a history of shark attacks.

Supt Bahr acknowledged it was a difficult time for the tight-knit community.

"People are going to be in distress," he said on Sunday.

"It will take time to get them to a point where we can talk to them and get statements from them.

"They would all know someone who was involved, if not the victim themselves, so I imagine it is very tough for them."

Mr Baccanello joined the local Elliston Area School at the beginning of the year.

Education Minister Blair Boyer said he was a loved teacher and member of the local community.

"There will be a very long period of grief. Particularly for young kids at the school coming to terms with the loss of their teacher," Mr Boyer said.

"The circumstances of it will add and compound that grief."

Mr Boyer said the department had put support services in place for the teacher's colleagues and students.

The minister said he had spoken with principal Chad Fleming and other community leaders to ensure they had everything they needed.

Mr Boyer said he had not spoken to the teacher's family, in line with wishes for privacy, but was ready to do so at any time.

Mr Fleming said Mr Baccanello was a valued colleague and a true friend to everyone.

"With his dedication to education and an enthusiastic and positive approach to learning and life, Simon showed care and respect to everyone," he said.