A surfer killed by a shark off Western Australia’s south coast “loved the ocean immensely” and often discussed its risks with his family.
- The suspension of the search was made with Andrew Sharpe’s family’s blessing
- Police said the size of the swell this morning meant it was too dangerous for divers to continue the search
- WA Premier Mark McGowan has suggested he will discuss whether the community wants a shark net installed
The search for 52-year-old Andrew Sharpe was suspended at 12:30pm today, the third day of the operation at Wylie Bay, near Esperance.
The decision to suspend the search was made with the blessing of Mr Sharpe’s family, which has released a statement thanking first responders, emergency services, police, volunteers and search teams.
“Andrew was a very loving father, life partner and brother,” Mr Sharpe’s family said.
“He would do anything for anyone and was a great and loyal mate to his friends and people he met.
“He was an experienced surfer of 40 years and he loved the ocean immensely.
“He knew the risks and we knew the risks as well.
“They had been discussed often. He will be greatly missed by us all.
“Our family would like to thank everyone who was with him on Friday and the Esperance community for their support.
“We live in an amazing town.
“We would also like to thank all the first responders, emergency services, police, volunteers and search teams.”
Police said the size of the swell made it too dangerous to continue the search on Sunday morning.(ABC News: Mark Bennett)
WA Police Senior Sergeant Justin Tarasinski praised the Sharpe family for the way they had handled the news of the suspension.
“It’s never easy to sit down with the family and tell them that you’re suspending the search,” he said.
“What I will say is that Mr Sharpe’s family have been absolutely fantastic in the way that they’re handling that side of things.
“It was actually with their blessing and almost their suggestion that the search be suspended and that everybody has already done over and above what their expectations were.”
Mr Tarasinski said the 2.5m swell made search efforts too dangerous to continue. The police dive team was returning to Perth.
Ocean Safety and Support Group founder Mitch Capelli said the community wanted to see lethal drumlines used following a deadly shark attack, and he said his group would put that request to the Minister.
“We’d love to see some action. At the moment, nothing’s been done,” Mr Capelli said.
“There should have been a lethal drumline deployed instantly after that attack.
“We are losing family, we’re losing friends and we’re losing others who are coming into our town who want to enjoy it. And that does not sit well with me or most people I know.”
WA Premier Mark McGowan suggested he would discuss whether the community wanted a shark net installed to protect swimmers, noting one would not have saved Mr Sharpe.
Mr McGowan also flagged a discussion about further shark tagging measures.