• Sun. May 21st, 2023

Horror details of shark attack victim Simon Baccanello at Walkers Rock

A witness has described the moment he saw a teacher dragged under water for 15 minutes by a shark, describing the horror incident as “confronting”.

Simon Baccanello, 43, was surfing at Walkers Rock, near Elliston on South Australia’s west coast on Saturday when he was attacked by a shark and disappeared.

The Elliston Area School teacher is believed to have been killed in the attack due to witness reports and the recovered wreckage of his surfboard.

Emergency services are yet to locate Mr Baccanello’s body.

His family has since released a statement saying they’re “grateful” for the local support, as emergency services returned to Walkers Rocks around 7am on Sunday morning.

“The family are grateful for the support of the Elliston community, family and friends, and would appreciate their privacy as they process this tragic loss,” the statement read.

Jaiden Miller, 22, was in the water when the attack occurred.

He told the Adelaide Advertiserthat Mr Baccanello’s surfboard “tombstoned” 15 minutes after the attack.

He estimated the board was approximately 500m offshore at the time.

“I saw his board tombstoning, which means he’s underwater and his board’s getting dragged under … trying to fight his way back up to the surface,” he told the publication.

“We all looked at each other like, what do we do? I yelled out, ‘Call an ambulance,’ but I’m sure the bloke on the beach had already been on the phone trying to get a hold of the ambulance.”

Mr Miller said he couldn’t see the teacher but saw the shark “thrashing around out the back”.

He described the horrific incident as “confronting” and said he is “still in a lot of shock”.

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 resume today.

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.

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