A SURFER is feared to have been mauled to death by a shark off the southwest coast of Australia after a board washed up on the shore with bite marks.
Police said the missing surfer’s chances of survival are “pretty slim” after swimmers spotted a 10ft beast lurking in the water off Wylie Bay, near the town of Esperance.
Paramedics were alerted to a potential shark attack just before 11am on Friday at Kelp Beds beach near Wylie Bay, and a search was launched shortly after.
A surfboard was later found floating at the beach – with no trace of the man riding it.
Police said that eight surfers had been in the water at the time of the brutal attack but were unable to bring the victim to the shore.
Senior Sergeant Justin Taranski said: “The surfboard washed up nearby to where the attack occurred and with obvious signs of shark attack.
“The chances of survival are obviously pretty slim considering some of the accounts that have been provided to us.”
He added: “One of the surfers tried to get him from the water but was unable to do so.”
Horrified swimmers told of the moment they saw the gigantic beast circling in the water off Kelp Beds.
'PANIC SET IN'
Jess Gardiner, who was in the water just a kilometre away at the time of the attack, told 9 News: “My partner had seen what he thought was to be a shark behind me, about 50 to 100m away from me.
“He said it was anywhere between a 2 to 3m shark … panic set in.
“There was a fair few families and kids throughout the bay.”
NewsAU reports that the missing surfer is believed to be a father-of-two, though details of his name and age have not yet been released.
Kelp Beds is a popular destination for surfers but has seen shark attacks in the past.
In April 2017, Laeticia Brouwer, 17, was fatally bitten on the leg while out surfing with her dad in Kelp Beds.
Surfer Sean Pollard was also mauled to death at the same spot in 2014 and lost his right hand and left arm.
It comes as pro-surfer Matt Wilkinson had a close encounter with a great white shark off Ballina on the east coast on Wednesday.
Drone footage shows the surfer dodging the shark attack by just inches, as the 8ft beast lunges at his feet in the water.
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