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'Vertical' Shark Attack Explained As Witnesses Describe How Shark 'Landed Like Car'

'Vertical' Shark Attack Explained As Witnesses Describe How Shark 'Landed Like Car'

The attack took place off the coast of Sydney's Little Bay Beach.

Witnesses of a shark attack at Little Bay Beach in Sydney have recalled how the creature landed 'like a car' as it struck in the ocean.

The incident took place around 4.30pm local time on Wednesday, February 16, when emergency services were called to the popular beach after witnesses saw the shark attack the swimmer.

Marine police crews and surf lifesavers responded to the scene, but sadly the victim of the attack, identified as 35-year-old Simon Nellist, could not be saved.

Some members of the public caught the attack on camera, while a witness told 9News the shark left the water completely as it launched its attack.

They said: 'Out of nowhere we just heard like, 'Agh' And something came up and, yeah, it was just a big shark in the air, totally airborne, hit the guy very, very quick. Came back down and we realised it was a shark attack on a swimmer. Just 10 metres off the rocks. We couldn't do anything about it.'

Another witness, Kris Linto, claimed the shark was about 4.5 metres long and described how it attacked Nellist 'vertically', adding: 'We heard a yell and turned around, it looked like a car had landed in the water, a big splash then the shark. It was really bad.'

A third onlooker, who had been fishing at the beach, told ABC News that a man wearing a wetsuit was swimming right in front of him when he was dragged under the water.

Recalling the tragic scene, the man said: 'He was yelling at first, and then when he went down there were so many splashes. The shark won't stop.'

The attack lasted several seconds, the witness said, adding that the scene was 'terrible'.

He continued: 'I am shaking. I keep vomiting. It's very, very upsetting. He just went down for a swim, enjoying the day, but that shark took his life.'

Authorities said drumlines in the area could be deployed to capture any sharks, which would then be relocated further offshore. Steven Pearce, CEO of Surf Life Saving NSW, said the species is still unknown and noted that 'when we decide to go into the water, we have to remember it is their domain.'

He added: '(But) what happened yesterday, it makes everyone sick just thinking about it.'

A search continued this morning, but Randwick Mayor Dylan Parker has now announced that beaches will be able to reopen as there have been no further sightings of sharks in the area.

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Featured Image Credit: @JakeLapham/Twitter/Simon Nellist/Facebook

Topics: Animals, Australia, World News