Grim update after surfer attacked by shark

The 46-year-old teacher was surfing with others, including children, when he was attacked. Picture: 7 News
The 46-year-old teacher was surfing with others, including children, when he was attacked. Picture: 7 News

The search for the body of a school teacher who is believed to have been attacked by a shark is continuing.

Simon Baccanello, 46, was surfing at Walkers Rock Beach, near Elliston, at 10am on Saturday when he was mauled.

Mr Baccanello reportedly urged those around him to swim to shore upon sighting the shark.

Police have said the search will continue into Monday, at the end of which they will reassess the situation, though Mr Baccanello is presumed dead.

Emergency services were called to Walkers Rock Beach just after 10am on Saturday. Picture: 7 News
Elliston, loved for its pristine beaches, is around 650km from Adelaide. Picture: 7 News

The 46-year-old had only just moved to Elliston in January, taking up a position as a school teacher at Elliston Area School.

The school’s principal, Chad Fleming, said Mr Baccanello was one of the most “kind, caring and inspiring teachers” he’d ever met.

“I’ve known this guy for five months and I feel like we’ve been mates for 10 years,” Mr Fleming told 7News.

“It’s gonna be a challenge … we’re all a bit numb at the minute.

“He was just an absolute gem of a bloke, an absolutely dedicated teacher.”

The 46-year-old teacher was surfing with others, including children, when he was attacked. Picture: 7 News
The 46-year-old teacher was surfing with others, including children, when he was attacked. Picture: 7 News
The search for Mr Baccanello is ongoing. Picture: 7 News
The search for Mr Baccanello is ongoing. Picture: 7 News

Streaky Bay SES unit manager Trevlyn Smith said while his body remained missing, Mr Baccanello’s surfboard was recovered “pretty quickly”.

He said the board had “one bite in the middle”.

Parts of Mr Baccanello’s wetsuit have also been found.

A 22-year-old witness to the incident, Jaiden Miller, told the Adelaide Advertiser he saw the shark “thrashing around” during the suspected attack.

“The shark’s obviously has let go and come back and got him for a third time,” he said.

A statement issued on behalf of Mr Baccanello’s family thanked the community for their support and requested privacy in the wake of the “tragic loss”.

Extensive search efforts, involving boats and helicopters, have continued into Monday and will be reassessed at day’s end.

Superintendent Paul Bahr, Officer in Charge of Eyre and Western Local Service Area, thanked the local community for their help during the search.

“It’s not easy when it’s a local involved but we commend their strength and their want to assist,” he said.

“We will continue to search with the assistance of local emergency services and other resources.”

Police have confirmed that no one else was injured during the attack.