Seals may have lured killer shark to surfer
Nicolas Perpitch, Tony Barrass From:The Australian August 18, 2010 12:00AM
A POD of seals is thought to have lured a massive shark towards Nicholas Edwards, a fly-in, fly-out mine worker enjoying an early-morning wave.
The shark was lured just minutes before he was attacked yesterday at one of Western Australia's best-known surf breaks.
In the second fatal shark attack at the Margaret River outpost of Gracetown in just six years, and the fifth off the WA coast since 2000, frantic locals used a leg-rope as a tourniquet in a desperate bid to stop Mr Edwards, 31, a father of two, bleeding to death after he dragged himself on to rocks at Cowaramup Bay about 8am.
On a still, grey morning, locals battled for more than 30 minutes to keep him alive and tried to lift his spirits by talking to him about his wife and two children, a two-year-old girl and a boy, 7, who are believed to have moved to WA three years ago from the Gold Coast. But it was all in vain -- he did not recover consciousness and died soon afterwards.
Earlier, Mr Edwards told two other surfers out catching waves with him that he planned to build a house on a newly purchased block of land at Busselton, 230km south of Perth.
Just before 8am, one of the three surfers paddled to shore, soon followed by the second surfer.
The victim, who is believed to work at a Goldfields mine site, had been surfing the famous South Point break alone for about 20 minutes before the shark, believed to be a white pointer because of its size, attacked, ripping at his right leg and upper thigh.
Mark Tomlinson, a Gracetown local who in 2004 had sat with a dying Brad Smith after the 29-year-old carpenter was mauled by two sharks at the nearby break of Lefthanders, was checking the waves at South Point yesterday. The sea was glassy and smooth, with a relatively small swell rolling into the bay, he said. "I saw the white water. I didn't see the shark, but the amount of white water it sent into the air was unbelievable," he told The Australian. "I thought he (the victim) would be all right because I saw him swim into the rocks, but then he disappeared under a wave."
Like Mr Tomlinson, Rob Alder was weighing up his surfing options yesterday as he looked through binoculars while standing on the veranda of his Gracetown home, which overlooks Cowaramup Bay.
When he realised something had happened, he rang the local store and told them to get in touch with emergency authorities, as mobile telephone reception in the area is notoriously bad. He then jumped on his motorbike, sped down to the beach and ran around to the point where Mr Edwards was lying on the beach after another surfer had dragged him off the rocks.
"I took the leg-rope off my board and put it around his thigh to use as a tourniquet. He was unconscious and he had lost a lot of colour," Mr Alder told The Australian. For the next 30 minutes, the men fought to save his life, administering mouth-to-mouth and CPR.
"After we saw some colour come back to his face, it was amazing, it was really good, and we thought he might pull through.
"He had swum in a long way (after the attack). That's a heroic struggle. He really wanted to make it -- it's a long way from where his board was floating."
Ed Kilgallon, another local, was surfing yesterday at Huzza's, a smaller break closer to shore, when he heard a whistle and looked up to see a man yelling "Shark! Shark!"
Once on shore, he helped about six others to "do everything we could" to save Mr Edwards.
"I saw he had a wedding ring and was telling him that his wife wanted to see him again."
Another surfer said he saw a big pod of seals swim past him minutes before the attack.
Last night, the blinds were drawn at the Edwardses' Busselton home and The Australian was told the family was in shock.http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/se ... 5906570924