Tragic news out of Australia. Yesterday, at South Kingscliff Beach in New South Wales, 60-year-old Rob Pedretti, from Queensland, was attacked by a large great white shark while surfing. Despite the best efforts from two fellow surfers who helped fight the shark off and get him to shore, Pedretti succumbed to his injuries and passed away on the beach. This marks the first fatal shark attack in NSW since 2016.
According to reports, the shark was at least three meters (or over 9 feet) long and attacked Pedretti on the back of his thigh. As nearby surfers rushed to scene, the shark reportedly circled them and rammed one of the surfer’s boards.
In the video above from 9 News Australia, the shark is filmed hanging around in the area after the attack. Despite being chased by a police boat, helicopter and jet-ski, it calmly swims circles outside the lineup, at one point aggressively squaring up with the ski. According to reports, it took 30 minutes before it headed off into deeper water. It’s common for great whites to be seen off the coast of NSW and QLD this time of year, and there have been large balls of bait in the area recently, which could be bringing them closer to shore.
Matt Kehoe, from the NSW Police Department, told 9 News that they’ll be “making some recommendations at a lager stage in regards to their [the two surfers that helped Pedretti to the beach] heroic efforts.” One of those surfers, who isn’t named, is unable to say much on camera, clearly (and understandably) shaken up by what had just happened.
Pedretti’s friends are in shock. “To think that he got taken by a shark is so left field, I can’t even get my head around it at the moment,” Brian Currie said. Tim Buckley adds: “It’s generally someone you don’t know; when it does hit this close to home it really affects you and the people who loved him and hung with him and his family.”
Our thoughts and condolences go out to Pedretti, his family and everyone who knew him.