Beaches to close after horror shark attack
THE fatal mauling of a surfer at a popular and picturesque surf break is the first shark attack death on a Gold Coast beach in six decades.
The 46-year-old male victim was killed when a shark, believed to be a three metre great white, latched onto his leg off Greenmount Beach, Coolangatta, just after 5pm on Tuesday.
The moment of the terrifying attack - during a decent swell and a busy line-up - was witnessed by at least one other rider and captured on Coastalwatch surf cameras.
Life guards, with the assistance of other surfers, brought the man to shore but he could not be saved by paramedics. He had suffered a bite stretching from his hip to his knee.
Police were still trying to contact the man's family on Tuesday night.
Brisbane's Tim Follett was walking around the idyllic Greenmount headland to grab dinner at nearby Rainbow Bay when he saw the chaos unfold.
"It was like the whole beach just froze. There was a lady screaming, it was horrible."
Another witness said he had been walking along the Greenmount footpath near one of the lookouts and spotted a board floating and a body next to it.
The man said he helped three others drag the surfer to the beach with the board.
"We got him on to the sand and there was a lifeguard 4WD there already with a stretcher so we put him on the stretcher but he was pretty much already gone by then," he said.
Former pro surfer Brenden 'Margo' Margieson was at Greenmount Beach with his partner minutes after it occurred.
"We just saw the blood in the water and we saw someone getting taken in," he said.
"I'd never thought in a million years there'd be one (attack) at Greenmount, or Snapper (Rocks). You think you're safe. You don't think it's going to happen. "I just feel for the family of the person that passed away," he said.
The Gold Coast's chief lifeguard and surf veteran Warren Young, said: "It was a beautiful afternoon. There was really good visibility.
"You just never know do you? It's a terrible thing that's happened."
Queensland Ambulance Service acting senior operations supervisor William Houghton praised the board riders, lifeguards, surf lifesavers and paramedics who tried in vain to save the man and said they were distraught. He said QAS received the call about the attack at 5.08pm.
"It's been pretty traumatic for them," he said.
He described the scene as "chaotic" and the injuries as "traumatic".
Greenmount, one of the Gold Coast's favourite family beaches, is protected by shark nets. The fatality comes just three months after the death of Tugun surfer Rob Pedretti, bitten by a shark off the Tweed Coast at Salt Beach.
The Gold Coast City Council has closed beaches from the border to Burleigh. It is the first fatal shark attack at a netted Queensland beach in decades - and first fatal attack at a Gold Coast beach since Peter Gerard Spronk in 1958 in Surfers Paradise.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said beaches would be shut from the border to Burleigh due to the attack and lifeguards would patrol on jetskis while the Westpac helicopter would also be in the air.
"Like every Gold Coaster, I am both shocked and saddened to learn of this terrible tragedy," Mayor Tate said. "My thoughts and prayers are with the surfer's family and friends."
Tweed-Coolangatta Surf Club members are being offered counselling.
In a statement, Queensland Police said the man had been surfing out the front of the lifesaving club and a report would be prepared for the coroner.
Shark nets have been installed the length of the Gold Coast since the early 1960s.
Originally published as Coast beaches to close after horror shark attack