Simon Nellist: Man tragically killed by 12-foot Great White was about to get married
The man who got killed in a shark attack on Wednesday, February 17, has been identified as Simon Nellist. The 35-year-old Britisher was training for a charity ocean swim when he tragically became the victim of the four-meter-long monster at Buchan Point, near Little Bay in Sydney's east while witnesses watched in horror. It has been said that Wednesday's incident was the first of its kind in decades in Sydney.
Nellist’s remains were found in the water after a search operation was launched Wednesday afternoon. Reports said he was an ocean lover and a dive instructor. His family was reportedly in the UK but his girlfriend was in Sydney with whom he was about to get married.
Sydney shark attack witnesses recall CHILLING moment man was eaten: 'We are in shock'
Remembering him, a friend named Della Ross told 7NEWS, “Everything that is connected to Simon is connected to the ocean. The news hit us like a truck because he was one of the people who make this earth lighter. He loved the water, he loved diving.”
A witness recalling the horrific moment said, “He was swimming across the headland and the shark came at full speed. It’s very hard to talk about it because it happened like 10 meters off the rocks.” After Nellist’s death, the charity event – the Malabar Magic Ocean Swim – scheduled to happen on Sunday, February 20, was also called off.
Event Director Robert Lloyd said: “The organizing committee extends our thoughts and prayers to the family of the swimmer who was so tragically taken yesterday. Out of respect for the swimmer and his family, and following wide consultation with Randwick Council and experienced, senior Surf Life Saving personnel, we believe that canceling the 2022 swim is appropriate.”
Meanwhile, the tragedy also resulted in the shutdown of thirteen beaches as a precaution. Randwick Council said, “Our beaches remain closed today as lifeguards use drones and jet skis to check the area for any further shark sightings.” Also, the Agriculture Minister noted the work has been started to find and monitor the shark. Dugald Saunders stated: “The fisheries guys have already been out to the location of yesterday’s really unfortunate and just gut-wrenching attack to put smart drumlines in and they will be monitored throughout the day. Smart drumlines have really proven to be extremely successful and also tagging sharks to know exactly where they are and using our smart shark app, along with ... monitoring with drones.”
Local MP Michael Daley told ABC News Breakfast: “I was deeply concerned for the family and sad for what happened. I'm really disappointed that a fatal attack as rare as it's been has come to pass, it really spoils the coastline in a way. I think a lot of people will think twice before going in the water or won't at all. For this to happen is shocking, sad and disappointing. There's a range of attitudes to things like this, there's some that pass it off and swim fearlessly and there are others that won't go in the water because they're scared. This will make everyone sit up and think about it, but hopefully it won't scare people away.”
Randwick Mayor Dylan Parker has also expressed his shock and condolence after the shocking incident. He said, “The coast is our community’s backyard. Little Bay is normally such a calm, beautiful place enjoyed by families. To lose someone to a shark attack like this is chilling. Our entire community’s hearts go out to the family of the victim.”