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Sydney shark attack victim identified as 35-year-old scuba instructor

The victim of a horrific shark attack at a Sydney beach on Wednesday has been identified as 35-year-old diving instructor Simon Nellist.

Mr Nellist, from Wolli Creek, was killed after being attacked by what's believed to be a great white shark at Little Bay, in the city's east, 9News reports.

He had been training for the Malabar ocean swim this weekend.

Simon Nellist was attacked while training for the Malabar ocean swim when he was attacked. Source:  Supplied
Simon Nellist was attacked while training for the Malabar ocean swim when he was attacked. Source: 9News

Eyewitnesses estimated the shark was about 4.5 metres long.

It's believed Mr Nellist has family in the UK and a girlfriend in Sydney.

“Everything that is connected to Simon is connected to the ocean,” friend Della Ross told 7NEWS.

“The news hit us like a truck because he was one of the people who make this earth lighter.”

Emergency services rushed to Little Bay shortly after 4.30pm after reports a swimmer had been mauled by a shark.

Just over an hour later police confirmed human remains had washed up on the shore. NSW Ambulance Inspector Lucky Phrachanh described the injuries sustained by the man as "catastrophic".

It was the first fatal shark attack in Sydney in almost 60 years. The last fatal shark attack in Sydney was in 1963.

The shark attack was the first fatal attack in almost 60 years.
Mr Nellist was a diving instructor and loved the ocean. Source: 9News

Distressing footage circulating online, which Yahoo News Australia has decided not to publish, showed the moment witnesses watched the attack happen.

In the video believed to have been filmed by a fisherman on nearby rocks, a man can be heard shouting: "Someone just got eaten by a shark! Oh no, oh no!"

Several people stand watching on in disbelief at the struggle between the man and shark in the water. The water surrounding the man and shark turns red amid continued thrashing.

Swimmers shaken after near-miss

13 of Sydney's iconic eastern beaches closed on Thursday following the attack with some horrified swimmers sharing their disbelief over the incident.

One beachgoer, John Puckeridge, 23 told Yahoo News Australia he and his girlfriend had been swimming close to where the attack happened.

"It was a really nice day, the water was really good," Mr Puckeridge said, describing it as a "perfect beach day".

"[There were] heaps of people swimming. It was a really nice day, the water was really good."

"Sharks tend to stick around before attacking so it could have been there when we were swimming," he continued.

"It’s just such a shame about the person that got attacked. Been thinking about how their family must be during this time."

Mr Puckeridge said he wont be swimming at Little Bay again for a "very long time".

"I don’t want to go there for a while. I think I’m going to stick to shark netted beaches for a while just because it’s quite scary to think of," he said.

"I might go there to lay on the sand and tan or something or stay in the very shallow area. But I’m not going to be swimming out there for a long time."

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