‘Unprecedented’: Surf lifesavers launch drone after fatal shark attack

Distressed locals watched as paramedics carried the man to a nearby dog park.

Distressed locals watched as paramedics carried the man to a nearby dog park.

The local community at a northern NSW coastal town is in shock after a man aged in his 50s was killed in a horror shark attack.

Emergency services were called to Tuncurry Beach near Forster about 11.20am on Tuesday after reports a man had been attacked.

While it was not yet known what species of shark was involved in the attack, the SharkSmart Twitter page revealed the Department of Primary Industries had located a “tagged white shark” in the area.

The latest report was at 2.15pm on Tuesday afternoon for a tagged white shark detected at Main Beach at Forster.

Local Billy Fentono posted video on Twitter of the break at Tuncurry in what he described as a “good morning” for surfers.

NSW Police said the surfer was pulled from the water and was suffering critical injuries to his upper right thigh after being attacked.

Police said officers from Manning Great Lakes Police District commenced CPR but he died at the scene.

Local surf lifesaver Brian Wilcox told the ABC he believed it was an “unprecedented” attack in the area.

“Pretty unprecedented … I can’t recall ever having a shark attack in this area. We called in to help with police and ambulance … fortunately, there were people on the beach to help the gentleman involved before the ambulance got here,” Mr Wilcox said.

He said Tuncurry Beach was closed along a two-kilometre stretch of coastline, and a drone was launched to try and spot sharks.

“We have had a drone up in the air to circle the spot [and] we will also do drone missions for the next couple of days within the Tuncurry Beach area to make sure there are no sharks hanging around,” he said.

A few sharks were located in the area but it was not known what species or if one of them was responsible for the attack.

Paramedics treated the man for upper thigh injuries and despite efforts of bystanders, they were unable to revive him.

Tuncurry Beach and Forster Main Beach will remain closed as police and the Department of Primary Industries work to identify the species responsible.

Tuncurry Beach is no stranger to shark activity.

Video uploaded to YouTube by The Rogue Droner in 2019 appeared to show a great white shark stalking surfers at the same beach.

The June 9 footage showed the shark swimming dangerously close to swimmers and surfers before making its way south, swimming slowly in shallow water close to the beach.

On Monday, a shark sighting in Western Australia forced organisers to put the World Surf League event at Rottnest Island on hold.

Veteran surfer Taj Burrow was competing in a three-man elimination heat on Monday against Jack Freestone and American Griffin Colapinto when the shark was spotted.

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