15-year-old surfer dies in violent shark attack, suffered deep bites on both legs as family watched from beach
People watching Mani Hart-Deville surf tried to rescue him by paddling out into the waters and fighting off the shark who had upended the teen's board
An Australian teenager died after he was attacked by a shark while he was surfing off the coast, distraught family and friends have revealed. Mani Hart-Deville, 15, had been surfing in the waters of Wooli Beach, near Grafton on the New South Wales north coast, at around 2:30 pm on Saturday, July 11, when a shark upended his board and bit into his legs, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The horrifying incident was witnessed by friends and family who were watching him surf from the shore, who tried to rescue him by paddling out into the waters and fighting off the shark. They managed to get him to shore and administered first aid, but ultimately could not save him. Hart-Deville had suffered deep bites on both legs and passed away at the beach.
Helen Dobra, a local, said she had seen another surfer bravely rush to help the 15-year-old and tried to pull the shark off him before pulling him out of the water.
"I talked to one of the surfers and basically he said he was in the water and a really big great white shark came up and took a bite and [the boy] was screaming out," she shared. "The surfer said the shark then came in again for another attack. He said another surfer bravely went and tried to get the shark off and then they pulled [the boy] out of the water."
Dobra said she ran to the beach and found Hart-Deville's family and paramedics surrounding his lifeless body. His wound had proven to be fatal. "It was a really traumatic scene, my heart’s still pumping, it’s going to be a real shock to our community," she said.
Police who arrived at the beach were seen retrieving the teenager's surfboard, which had large bite marks around the base and had its fiberglass partly destroyed, and several bags of items as evidence.
Peter Sweetman, a lifeguard at the beach, said he believed it was a two-and-a-half meter (8.2 feet) great white shark that had attacked Hart-Deville but said the authorities would be examining the teeth marks on his board before making an official determination.
Stan, a local fishing charter owner, said it could be possible that the 15-year-old had been attacked by a great white because they were common in the area. "I've done a lot of spearfishing and there's a lot of sharks, a lot of great whites come through," he said.
As news of his death reached the community, many expressed their devastation for the family and paid tribute to a teen they described as a clever, artistic boy who made his own surfboards.
Jake Trevillian, whose daughter was friends with Hart-Deville, said, "The world was his oyster. He was an individual and didn’t follow the path of everyone else, and one of those ones you could tell he was going to do something cool with his life."
Deputies from Coffs/Clarence Police District will be liaising with the Department of Primary Industry to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death. Beaches in the area have been closed following the incident.