Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Australia: Recently-Arrived British Expat, 50s, Killed by Great White Shark in NSW, Wife on Beach at Time

According to the UK-based The Independent, a British expat has reportedly been killed by a Great White shark near Clarkes Beach in New South Wales (NSW). The attack occurred earlier today. 

Local police and paramedics were summoned to the scene at 1045 hours after British expat Paul Wilcox was bitten on his right leg at the southern end of the beach.

British tourist Mark Hickley, a Newcastle lawyer who was on the beach, performed CPR on the victim until the arrival of a physician.

Hickley, 52, said he was standing on the beach when he noticed the two-meter (6.6-foot) shark, believed to be a Great White, circling the Wilcox.

COMMENT: Describing the events that followed as traumatizing, Hickley ran into the bloodied waters in an attempt to rescue Wilcox, who was about 30-40 meters (100-130 fee) out from the sand. “I’ve seen a lot of sharks over the years, but never anything like this,” he told the DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA. 

He said the shark “wasn’t going away, it was just circling.”

“The shark returned to hit the victim again. I didn’t know it was a person, but when I realized it was a person I ran out and waded to the bank and grabbed him and did CPR but it was too late.” 

Police said the Wilcox's wife, Victoria, had also been on the beach, when he was attacked.

The couple had been married for 24 years and lived in Byron Bay together. They had friends visiting at the time of the tragedy and were due to meet them for coffee later.

Police praised Mr Hickley’s “extraordinary act of bravery."

Lifeguards spotted the shark off the beach and were attempting to use a helicopter and jetskis to push the animal further out to sea.

There were no plans to kill the shark, as Great Whites are an endangered species.

NSW Ambulance paramedic Andrew Chapman said Wilcox probably died in the water from a massive loss of blood. He was bitten just above the knee.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: "We are aware of reports of the death of a British National in Australia and are looking after the family."

Beaches in the area, south of Australia’s famous Gold Coast, have been closed for 24 hours and people are being warned to stay out of the water.

There have been at least six fatal shark attacks off the Australian coast in recent years.

In April, a woman died after being attacked swimming off Tathra Beach in NSW.