A 35-year-old British man was killed last year in a brutal shark attack – but a researcher has now shed light on just how the incident took place.
Simon Nellist, a diving instructor and former UK Royal Air Force serviceman, died in February 2022.
Witnesses said a 15-foot great white shark attacked the expat at Buchan Point southeast of Sydney, Australia.
It was the Australian city’s first lethal shark attack on its beach since 1963.
Now, the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) has classified Nellist’s death as a “provoked incident”.
Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, told The London Times Nellist was “in no way intending to provoke” the shark.
However, he noted the 35-year-old had been swimming in an area where people were fishing.
Naylor added: “We find that a large fraction of bites that are reported to us occur where people are fishing and there is chum or bait in the water.
“Fishing brings bait fish closer to shore than they might otherwise be, and sharks often follow.”
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An unnamed eyewitness told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation at the time that he had been fishing off nearby rocks when he saw Nellist get dragged underwater by a large shark in an attack that lasted several seconds.
“He was yelling at first, and then when he went down, there were so many splashes,” he said. “The shark won’t stop.”
In 2022, ISAF investigated 108 alleged attacks worldwide in 2022.
They also confirmed that there had been 57 attacks of unprovoked shark bites on humans, and 32 provoked bites.
The global database of all known shark attacks, run by the Florida Museum, classifies “provoked incidents” when a “human initiates interaction with a shark in some way”.
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