The West

Fatal shark attack near Wedge Island
Ben Linden and his girlfriend Alana Noakes. Picture: Supplied.

UPDATE: 4.28pm Police will continue to patrol the beach area of Wedge Island, for at least two more days, after the fatal shark attack on Saturday but the search for the killer shark has been called off.

This morning police said the surfer was Ben Linden, 24, from Osborne Park, as the search for his remains continued. However, the search for the 4m killer shark has been called off by the Department of Fisheries.

The devastated family of Mr Linden, who killed by a great white shark, have thanked emergency services and volunteers who scoured waters around Wedge Island searching for his body.

Mr Linden was a bassist in the band Fools Rush In, who featured on triple j Unearthed, and was a cabinet maker.

He listed surfing as his favourite sport on his Facbook page.

Late this morning, his girlfriend Alana Noakes thanked friends for their support in a post on Mr Linden's Facebook page.

"Thank you all so much for your support, it means the world to ben's family and myself," she said.

"We are so grateful that Ben has touched so many people's lives in the short time we were allowed to be with him."

Yesterday, Ms Noakes posted an emotional tribute to her boyfriend saying "he lit up the lives of all who knew him".

"I'm devastated to let everyone know that my beautiful man... was the surfer who was taken by the shark at Wedge this morning. I'm so very sorry if I haven't been able to personally contact you to let you know. I have tried my best to contact everyone I know," she said in the post.

"(He) was the most amazing man, he lit up the lives of all who knew him. He was the most talented, good-natured, beautiful person I've ever met. He was the love of my life, my best friend, my rock and my soulmate. I, like everyone who knew him, absolutely cherish every moment of the last 8 years I spent with him. He has helped me to be a better person, to learn to 'ride the waves' of life.

"Let's remember that he was doing something that meant the world to him. Surfing was his soul, his life, his culture and his passion. He loved mother nature in all her glory and is now in her arms eternally. Let's rejoice in that.

"My beautiful man, I will love you forever."

Ben Linden. Picture: Facebook.
Witnesses said Mr Linden was less than 50m from shore when he was taken but Fisheries says he was about 200m offshore from an isolated beach and about 4km south of Wedge Island, about 160km north of Perth.

Fisheries Department Shark Response Unit spokesman Tony Cappelluti said the department had sent staff and resources to the site of the attack.

Police from Jurien Bay and Lancelin joined Water Police, Polar 61 and Lancelin Volunteer Marine Rescue at the scene yesterday.

The police helicopter searches the beach where the surfer was taken by a shark yesterday. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian

“The 20m Patrol Vessel Houtman and the Lancelin District vessel are on the scene and Fisheries and marine officers on board have been given the order to set shark capture gear,” Mr Cappelluti said.

“When last seen the shark was heading offshore, but we have placed baited lines in the water near the attack site, in an attempt to catch the shark should it return to the location or pose a threat in the area.

Picture: Phil Hemingway/Seven News

“To this time, no further shark sightings have been made in the area, since the fatal incident.

“Eyewitnesses at the location told police they saw the shark swimming out to deeper water after the incident.”

Mr Cappelluti said the shark capture lines would remain in the water.

“A decision will be made before nightfall to remove this gear and any further use would be dependent on any new shark sightings, operational assessments and weather conditions,” he said.

“The local shire has closed beaches in the area and will reassess that decision at some stage tomorrow, depending on whether there are further sightings or not."

Mullaloo survivor | Tagged shark lurking |

Witnesses have told police the surfer, believed to be from Perth, was mauled by the shark about 9am. The incident was reported to police by another surfer about 9.10am.

A young jetskier who witnessed the attack described bloody scene at the popular surf break.

"I saw the guy get attacked by a shark. It was a white pointer, possibly four to five metres long," the man told Sky News. "I took my mate to shore - they was blood everywhere and a massive white shark was circling the body, the half a torso that was left.

"I did a loop and came back but the shark took the body."

Fisheries officers on quad bikes search the beach. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian

The surfer's death is the fifth fatal attack in WA in the past 10 months.

Surfers were littered throughout the water this morning making the most of the perfect surfing conditions when the attack happened.

Police have confirmed the man's family live in the country and are on their way to Perth.

A Wedge resident of 36 years, Anne McGuiness, was at the beach where the young man was taken.

"All our kids and everyone else come here. It is beautiful for surfing, well, it was," she said. "He (the victim) was here with friends - they all seemed to know each other as surfers do.
"When I got here they were looking pretty calm and collected, they all had phones and I think they had rung 000."

Beaches in the area have been closed.

Rescue patrols search for the shark attack victim's body. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian

Dandaragan Shire President Shane Love said it was a tragic day for the small community.

"It is a shock to everyone that this has happened. The community itself at Wedge is pretty small but alot of people come up from Perth to use that area as a holiday playground," Mr Love said.

"My thoughts are with the family and the person's friends."

In April, WA Fisheries senior shark research scientist Rory McAuley said the state was the deadliest place in the world for shark attacks, after the death of 33-year-old diver Peter Kurmann in the South West, the fourth death in seven months.

Mr McAuley said there had been an "unprecedented" number of fatal shark attacks off WA in the past two years.

Last month, 62-year-old surf life saver Martin Kane was rescued by one of his fellow paddlers when a shark attacked his surf ski at Mullaloo beach.

A world-first acoustic tagging program introduced last year has shown sharks are lingering off the metropolitan coast for months at a time.

Last week a tagged great white sharked was detected about 500m off Perth beaches. The 5m female shark was tagged on May 11 in Albany and as recently as July 9 triggered receivers at Cottesloe, Trigg, City Beach and Ocean Reef.

Police and emergency service personnel at the beach south of Wedge Island today. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian
Picture: Phil Hemingway/Seven News
Picture: Phil Hemingway/Seven News
The West Australian

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