A shark that attacked and killed an Australian surfer off the coast of Western Australia is thought to be a great white. The victim has been named as father of two, Nicholas Edwards.

Keen surfer Edwards was catching a last wave before starting work when the great white shark bit through his leg and ripped his surf board in half.

Edwards, who worked as a gold miner, bled to death on the beach after the shark attack, despite the heroic efforts of other surfers to save him.

Seals in the area are thought to have attracted the shark, which was spotted by another surfer who gave the cry “Shark! Shark!” seconds before the attack.

Witnesses saw Edwards vanish below the surface after the shark attacked, to emerge face-down in the water near the shore.

Nicholas was dragged onto the beach by fellow surfers who had witnessed the shark attack. They fought for 20 minutes to save him using a surfboard leg rope as a tourniquet for his leg and massaging his heart.

Surfer, Eddie Kilgallon, said: “The back half of his leg was totally chomped. It looked like one bite.

“We kept encouraging him. We noticed he had a wedding ring and reminded him that people loved him. I told him his wife wanted to see him again.

“I was holding what was left of his leg together. The boys were giving him CPR, just talking to him, doing everything they could.

“His face was white but we started to get colour back into him. That’s when I thought he might have a chance.”

Another of the surfers, Rob Alder, added: “It was an honour to try to save a brother surfer. It feels like I’ve lost a brother.

“We treated him real good. We did everything we could. He didn’t die alone.

“If I’d been attacked, that’s how I’d like to be looked after.”

Paramedics massaged shark victim Edwards’ heart throughout the journey to hospital but he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving as the bite had severed a main artery.

Police sergeant Paul Anderson praised the rescuers, saying: “Those guys did an outstanding job.

“It was beautiful out there this morning. You can understand why he was trying to get a last surf in before he went back to the gold fields.”

The Gracetown beach, near Margaret River, has now been closed as fisheries officials search for the shark, suspected to be a great white. As a last resort, the shark will be killed.

Watch Nine News’ coverage of the shark attack here:


Shark attacks in Western Australia since 1997

October 1997:
Former St Kilda footballer Brian Sierakowski and friend Barney Hanrahan
escaped when a 5m white pointer shark attacked their double surf-ski 150m off

October 2000: Greg Pickering, 47, a professional diver from Ocean Reef, was attacked by a 1.5m bronze whaler shark 9km off Cervantes.

November 2000: Businessman Ken Crew, 48, was attacked and killed by a 4m white pointer shark in waist-deep water at North Cottesloe.

February 2001:
A 5m white pointer shark leapt out of the water off Albany and clamped its
jaws around an outboard motor as Don and Margaret Stubbs watched in

January 2004: Allan
Oppert was attacked while diving for lobster 24km offshore in
Binningup, north of Bunbury. He survived, despite being bitten 11 times
below the knees.

June 2004: : Surfer Tom O’Brien, 17, was bitten on a foot by a bronze whaler shark off Bunbury’s Back Beach.

July 2004: Carpenter Brad Smith, 29, was attacked and killed by two sharks while surfing off Gracetown.

March 2005:  A 6m white pointer killed boat skipper Geoffrey Brazier, 26, while he snorkelled off the Abrolhos Islands.

September 2005:  Surfer Brad Satchell scared off a 1.3m shark by punching it on the nose as it lined up to attack him 150m off Scarborough.

January 2006: Diver Bernie Williams was attacked by a 3.5m white pointer shark about 5km
off City Beach. He received only minor wounds to his arms and said a
mate’s electronic shark deterrent saved his life.

December 2006: 15-year-old Zac Golebiowski from South Australia loses a leg in a shark
attack east of Esperance. He was attacked by a 4.5m white pointer.

May 2007: Ellenbrook
mother-of-five Becky Cooke had her foot torn to pieces by a reef shark
near Coral Bay while holding her toddler in 30cm of water.

July 2007: Scotch
College College student Angus Chapman, 15, was attacked by a 1.5m
bronze whaler in chest-deep water in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

November 2007:  A man survives a shark attack off the Kimberley coast.

December 2008: Port
Kennedy fisherman Brian Guest, 51, taken by a giant white pointer shark while
snorkelling for crabs in about 5m of water near his beachside home.