Beloved local teacher Simon Baccanello is believed to be dead after he was mauled by a shark on Saturday morning.
Emergency services rushed to Elliston, on South Australia’s west coast, at about 10.10am after witnesses reported the incident.
The 46-year-old teacher was reportedly surfing at Walkers Rock when he was attacked.
SA Police have since revealed they believe the man, from Elliston, is now dead.
Witnesses at the scene told The Advertiser he 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.”
The South Australian Ambulance Service told NCA NewsWire they had crews on the beach waiting on standby as SA Police conduct the search.
A witness, 22-year-old Jaiden Miller, was in the water when the attack took place.
He told the Adelaide Advertiser that Mr Baccanello’s surfboard “tombstoned” 15-minutes after the attack, 500m offshore.
“(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.”
The SAAS said there are helicopters and boats searching the waters near Elliston on the Eyre Peninsula.
SAPOL confirmed the search was still underway, with members of the community and the SES involved.
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,” Superintendent Bahr said.
“We will continue to search with the assistance of local emergency services and other resources.“
It is believed the man’s injuries were life-threatening.
No other people have been injured.
Elliston is located about 650km from Adelaide, and is a spot loved by tourists for its pristine beaches.