Rescue teams in South Australia are relentlessly scouring the waters off Granites Beach for the remains of a surfer who is presumed to have succumbed to a fatal attack by a great white shark. The unidentified 55-year-old man was last seen surfing alongside a group of around 12 fellow surfers when the shark struck at approximately 10:20 AM on Tuesday.
Witnesses reported seeing the shark attack the man and pull him underwater. Despite the resumption of the search on Wednesday morning, the man’s body has yet to be recovered.
Authorities have not yet released any information on the species of shark that was believed to have attacked the surfer, but one witness, Jeff Schmucker, told reporters that he saw a 13-foot great white shark. Schmucker said he swam over to help the injured surfer but only found the surfboard with a significant bite mark.
Ian Brophy, another witness, described the attack in graphic detail, stating that he saw the shark ” drag him under the water and then nothing for a minute or two and blood everywhere and then suddenly his board pops up.” Brophy said that he saw the shark with the surfer in its mouth and that “within a few minutes, there was no sign of the surfer’s body. The shark may have consumed the entire body.”
Police Superintendent Paul Bahr has warned anyone planning to surf or take to the water in the area to be aware of the risks.
The search for the missing surfer is ongoing.
According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), the United States has had the most unprovoked shark attacks on surfers between 2012 and 2021, with 146 attacks. Australia was second with 104 attacks, and South Africa was third with 27 attacks.
The ISAF defines an unprovoked shark attack as one in which a shark bites a human in their natural environment without any provocation by the human. Provoked attacks, on the other hand, are those in which the shark is attracted to the human by food, bait, or other factors.
There are several reasons why surfers are more likely to be injured by sharks than other people. One reason is that surfers spend a lot of time in the water, which increases their chances of encountering a shark. Additionally, surfers often surf in areas where sharks are known to be present, such as reefs and estuaries.
Another reason why surfers may be more susceptible to shark attacks is that their boards can resemble prey to sharks. When a shark sees a surfer’s board, it may mistake it for a seal or other marine mammal and attack.