On Saturday, there was a shark attack at Walkers Rock, in South Australia. Simon Baccanello was surfing with others when the shark attack occurred. According to eyewitnesses, he warned people about the shark in the water before being dragged under and disappearing. One of the swimmers was a 13-year-old.
Baccanello was behind a ground of around twelve surfers when the incident occurred. Jaiden Millar, 22, said there were 15-20 people in the water and this could have happened to any of them. He witnessed Baccanello’s board tombstoning around 500 meters offshore. This happens when the surfer is pulled down into the water and the board stands upright, like a headstone. He also said the shark was trashing around during the attack.
Beloved Teacher at Elliston Area School
Simon Baccanello, 46, moved to the nearby area in Elliston in January. He thought math, science, health and physical education at Elliston Area School. The principal at the school, Chad Fleming said, “I’ve known this guy for five months and I feel like we’ve been mates for 10 years.” He was loved by students and teachers and his presence will surely be missed. Education minister Blair Boyer said, “There will be a very long period of grief. Particularly for young kids at the school coming to terms with the loss of their teacher.” This is a tragic loss for the small town of 400 people.
So far, the search for the teacher and his remains is still ongoing. The surfboard was recovered pretty quickly with one shark bite in the middle. South Australia Police also recovered some pieces of the swimmer’s wetsuit and pieces of what appear to be from his surfboard. According to the searchers, the remains will continue to drift to shore rather than the sea so they should be able to recover more of his belongings.
This is the first fatal shark attack at Walkers Rock since 2014 when another teacher was tragically attacked. This is also the third fatal shark attack in Australia. A 16-year-old girl was attacked in Swan River, Western Australia when she jumped to swim with dolphins.