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April 18, 2021

Ballina beaches stay closed after fatal shark attack

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Takashi Nakahara was a popular surfer in the Ballina-Lennox Head area. Photo Facebook
Tadashi Nakahara was a popular surfer in the Ballina-Lennox Head area. Photo Facebook

Updated 5.25pm: From 7am today (Tuesday 10 February 2015), police along with SES, Surf Lifesavers and Council officers conducted a search for six kilometres either side of Shelly Beach.

The search did not reveal any further information and there were no additional shark sightings.

However, at this time the beaches in the area remain closed and this will continue until tomorrow when the situation will be reassessed. Police say public safety remains their paramount consideration.

Investigators have been speaking with a Department of Primary Industries marine expert to try and identify the type of shark involved in the attack.

Meantime police have urged anyone who observes a shark to report the matter to officers or surf lifesavers immediately.

Aerial patrols have been made today by Polair, with no sightings of sharks. A meeting will be held tomorrow morning to assess beach and surf conditions.

 Original article: The search continues for the shark believed to be a great white involved in yesterday’s fatal attack on a  surfer at Shelly Beach, while beaches between Ballina and Lennox Head remain closed.

Forty-one-year-old Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara, who was well-known in the local surfing community, died from shock and blood loss on the beach after fellow surfers pulled him out of the water around 10am yesterday.

They tried to keep Mr Nakahara alive by applying a tourniquet to stem the blood loss and CPR but he died on the beach as a result of the horrific injuries.

The shark, of which only a shadow was seen by other surfers, is believed to have been up to four metres long.

It was the second attack on a surfer in the area in two days after a 35-year-old Byron Bay man was ‘hit’ from behind while sitting on his board at Seven Mile Beach near Lennox Head on Sunday morning.

The man, who suffered a cut to his back and puncture wounds to his buttocks, drove himself to hospital where he is recovering from his wounds.

Ballina Shire mayor David Wright said rescuers believed it was a great white shark and probably the same one that bit the man 25 kilometres away at Seven Mile Beach.

‘For a shark to take the board and the person sitting on it, it’s got to be very big,’ he told Fairfax Media.

Police told media that Mr Nakahara was pulled off his surf board from beneath when the shark grabbed both his legs.

After the attack on Mr Nakahara, beaches along a 15-kilometre stretch between Lennox Head and south Ballina have been closed at the order of police

This morning, lifeguards and other volunteers are continuing their search for the shark in jet-skis and rescue boats. A helicopter was used yesterday.

Marine experts say warmer waters and plenty of baitfish may have attracted more sharks to the north coast beaches.

Mr Nakahara is understood to have worked at a Ballina hotel and loved surfing, often taking visiting Japanese friends out surfing.

A crime scene has been established at Shelly Beach and a report is being prepared for the coroner.

It was the second fatal shark attack on the north coast in six months.

In September last year, 50-year-old UK man Paul Wilcox died after he was mauled by a great white shark at Clarkes Beach in Byron Bay.

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  1. There will be the usual excuses from the shark lovers! Reality is that sharks as a protected species are now dominating the entire coast around Australia.
    As their numbers grow and grow, our waters are no longer safe to swim in.

    Building rock pools around Ballina and other places is a fine idea but hardly likely to satisfy the surfers and others who like a long swim. We need a sensible culling program that will eventually infiltrate the instinctive self-protection part of sharks’ brains – ‘Danger Zone, keep away’.

    It would also provide a ready supply to the local fish-and-chip shops, and don’t we all just love our fish-and-chips?

    I can’t envisage many complaints from the surfies either!


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