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Missing Australian man presumed dead after shark attack

By Agence France-Presse Published May 16, 2023 10:07 am

A surfer missing since being attacked by a shark off the southern coast of Australia at the weekend is "presumed dead," police said Monday, May 15, as a search turned up fragments of wetsuit-like material.

The surfer, identified by local media as 46-year-old teacher Simon Baccanellow, was attacked on Saturday, May 13 off Walkers Rock Beach, South Australia's state police said in a statement.

Teams scouring the area for signs of the man on Sunday, May 14 had located two "items of interest," police said.

"One item appears to be a piece of wetsuit material, and the other items appear to be small pieces of white polystyrene (possible surfboard material)," they said.

Police said the fragments would be sent for forensic examination.

Teams will carry on searching beaches in the area after high tide "in the coming days," police said, following consultations with the man's family.

An emergency services official in the area told public broadcaster ABC that as many as 16 people were near the surfer on Saturday, some of whom "saw evidence of the attack." (AFP)