Ambulance paramedics, police and local residents render assistance at the tragic scene near Sapphire on Saturday.
Ambulance paramedics, police and local residents render assistance at the tragic scene near Sapphire on Saturday. Frank Redward

Friends’ fight to save shark victim

As word spread of the fatal attack at Campbells Beach, the Advocate's weekend journalist Greg White kept the Coffs Coast informed of the facts via our website and facebook, detailing the tragedy as it unfolded.

AFTER Zach Young, 19, was pulled ashore by his friends, paramedics desperately tried in vain to revive him and stem the flow of blood from his severed lower legs.

An Ambulance Service spokeswoman said he had suffered traumatic cardiac arrest as a result of his injuries.

"Attempts were made to resuscitate him when he was brought to the shore, but he died at the scene," the spokeswoman said.

Paramedics had made their way through bushland to get to the scene on Campbell's Beach off Elouera St.

The attack happened on a rocky outcrop off Riecks Point on the bodyboarding break known by locals as The Well.

It was apparent the shark had struck from below, according to the statements given to police.

Vision of the attack, shot by his friends, who had cameras rolling at the time, have been sent to the NSW Coroner.

Police confirmed at the scene that Zach had been taken by the shark as he sat on his board.

"His mates struggled with the shark for a short time," Inspector Joanne Reid said.

"Then the shark has let go and friends then courageously managed to get him to shore."

All beaches within a 10km radius were closed as a precaution for 24 hours.

Water Police, Marine Rescue and Surf Life Saving volunteers spent Sunday conducting patrols looking for the shark, but no sightings were made.

The fatal attack was confirmed to be the first on the Coffs Coast since an attack in the Bellinger River in 1938.

No fatalities were reported in coastal ocean waters since European settlement in the 1860s, but two deaths were recorded in the estuary of the Bellinger River.

On December 28, 1938, Daniel Graham died after being attacked at North Beach- Mylestom, while James Elton was taken at Urunga on November 3, 1923. Apart from these attacks the closest fatalities to Coffs were at Ballina in 2008 and Lord Howe Island in 2001. Some minor attacks have been recorded.



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