Surfers paid tribute to a victim of a shark attack whose body was never found by forming a massive circle in the sea on Sunday.
More than 200 friends and family members of the victim, Andrew Sharpe, and members of the local community paddled out into the water off the south coast of Australia near the town of Esperance to pay their respects with flowers and a minute’s silence, the Daily Mail Australia reported.
Dozens more stood by the shore to watch the ceremony, which ended with the surfers splashing the water. A wake was then held, with participants wearing colorful clothing in honor of the deceased.
Sharpey – affectionately known as “Sharpey” by all who knew him – was killed by a great white shark while surfing with friends in Wylie Bay near Esperance on October 9.
The shark “hurled” Sharpey into the air during the attack, bit him in the leg and finally dragged him under water.
The police then conducted a search for Sharpe, but it was abandoned after two days because the body could not be recovered.
Pieces of Sharpe’s wetsuit and his surfboard with bite marks were found washed up on nearby beaches hours after the attack.
After the police called off the search, Sharpe’s family published a tribute in which he was described as a “loving father, life partner and brother”.
“He would do anything for anyone and was a great and loyal buddy to his friends and people he met,” the family said.
“He was an experienced surfer of 40 years and loved the ocean immensely. He knew the risks, and we knew the risks too. They had often been discussed. We will all miss him very much,” said the family.
After the moving tribute on Sunday, the family thanked everyone who had participated in the memorial service.
“Andrew’s family would like to thank everyone who helped celebrate Andrew’s life yesterday with 200 mates in the water and even more on the beach,” the family said, according to the local newspaper Kalgoorlie Miner.
“The parking lots were full and the cars parked all the way back along the side, two kilometers [1.2 miles] to Fourth Beach.
Shark attacks are rare, and fatal incidents even rarer. According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), operated by the Florida Museum of Natural History, the probability of being killed by a shark is about 1 in 3.7 million. This is lower than the probability of being killed by lightning.
Nevertheless, Australia is one of the world’s hotspots for shark attacks. In 2020, seven people were killed by sharks in the waters of the country.