A search for the victim of a shark attack off Western Australia’s south coast is set to resume for the third day.
The man was bitten by a shark at Kelp Beds Beach near Esperance on Friday morning, with searchers including police divers and an underwater vehicle team unable to locate him on Saturday.
The Shire of Esperance has closed beaches from Wylie Head to Cape Le Grand National Park as State Emergency Service, Surf Life Saving WA and local council officials help try to locate the man.
Fellow surfers paddled out to try to save him, according to reports, while witnesses have described the attack and seeing blood in the water.
Another surfer tried to pull him from the water but was unable to do so, WA Premier Mark McGowan said on Friday. The man’s surfboard had been recovered but there was no sign of him.
WA’s south coast, particularly around Esperance, is a known breeding ground for great white sharks and home to large seal colonies.
Kelp Beds Beach was the site of a deadly shark mauling in 2017 when 17-year-old surfer Laeticia Brouwer was killed.
The government had taken extra safety measures to protect swimmers and surfers including helicopter patrols, monitoring stations and subsidised shark shields, McGowan said.
But there was always an element of risk when entering the water.