It's now Saturday evening as I write. This morning on the beach here at Warnbro Sound at about 7:00am, a 51-year old man and his 24-year old son were snorkeling when it seems the father was attacked by a 4-5 metre great white shark. Despite an all-out, massive search operation including 4 helicopters, at least a dozen rescue boats, and several rescue jet skis, the man has not been found and is presumed dead. Very sad news. They're calling off the search at dark now and will resume it at 7:00am Sunday.
The location where they were diving was only about 500 yards down the beach from where we were swimming and playing beach cricket the day before. We heard the helicopters hovering as we were getting out of bed and hurried over to the beach to see what the commotion was. We stood with dozens of people at a car park lookout for about 2 1/2 hours, not knowing for about the first hour whether it was a shark attack or something else.
Peter and I took heaps of photos as the search operation unfolded right in front of us and above us. The closeup shots of the helicopters show how close we were, but I'm not sure we have a good photo that shows a wide shot of the whole operation. It was amazing to see the 4 helicopters working in very close proximity while teams of boats were sweeping the sound in evenly spaced parallel lines. On the beach there were police and ranger trucks, rescue four-wheel ATVs, and the news cameras, and well over hundred people. Cars were parked a couple of blocks back from the beach - crowded enough that when Lanette came back from a trip to the house, she turned around to park at home and walk instead.
The shark attack is one of the top stories on national news down here tonight. I spotted myself on the report that aired on the national network 9 news and on Sky News. You might be able to view the whole news report on the 9 website here (see video report that I was on, then scroll down that page for the news story). If you watch the video, note that the scene of heaps of splashing in the water is not the shark, but a school of snappers that may have been why the shark came into the sound. There are other news stories on the web at The West Australian (Perth newspaper) and the ABC (Australia) sites.