The swimmer died from catastrophic injuries after being targeted by a shark at Little Bay on Wednesday afternoon.
Swimmers have been warned against attempting to enter the water at 13 of Sydney’s beaches, from Bondi in the east to Cronulla in the south, after human remains were found yesterday.
NSW police on Thursday morning confirmed beaches including Bronte, Tamarama, Bondi, Coogee, Clovelly, South Maroubra, Little Bay, Malabar/Long Bay, La Perouse, Wanda, Elouera, north Cronulla and Cronulla beaches had been closed following the fatal attack.
The search for human remains resumed on Thursday with drones monitoring from the sky, lifesavers on jetskis and on the sand, while water police and PolAir also patrolled.
Surf lifesavers are using drones and jetskis to check the immediate area surrounding Little Bay for further shark sightings on Thursday morning, Randwick council said.
“Council Lifeguards will patrol beaches over the next 24 hours looking for any further sightings of sharks,” the mayor of Randwick council, Dylan Parker, tweeted.
“To lose someone on our coastline like this is chilling to the core,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday. “The coast is our backyard. Little Bay is normally a calm, quiet, family friendly beach.”
Human remains were later found in the water.
A New South Wales Ambulance inspector, Lucky Phrachnanh, said the swimmer had “suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of the attack and there was nothing paramedics could do when we arrived on scene”.
It is the first fatal shark attack in Sydney waters since 1963.
A witness told Nine News he had seen a four-and-a-half metre great white shark attack the swimmer.
Kris Linto said the shark “attacked him vertically”.
“We heard a yell … it looked like a car had landed in the water,” he said.
The unnamed victim is believe to be a local man who swam regularly.
Another witness told the ABC he had seen the man fishing off the rocks at Buchan Point before he was dragged under.
NSW police and the Department of Primary Industry are investigating the circumstances surrounding the swimmer’s death.
The species of the shark is yet to be confirmed by authorities.
Marine scientist with Macquarie University Dr Vanessa Pirotta told ABC News the species could be a great white shark because of its behaviour during the attack and large size. But she said it would be unlikely the shark responsible would be found by authorities.
“It is most likely the species however New South Wales’ Department of Primary Industries will be best placed to work with other authorities like Surf Life Saving to try and see if there is a large animal in the area and to best identify the type of species here in this instance,” she said.
“People want to do everything they can to prevent this type of thing happening and that is completely understandable … but it would be very unlikely to find the animal that has done this.
“These animals are capable of large geographical movements and is not likely that they would be sticking around in the area.
Bond University shark attack expert Dr Daryl McPhee has called for calm and media restraint as authorities continue with their investigations.
“The victim’s family and friends should be foremost in our minds today … there is a time for discussing what additional mitigation measures may or may not need to be in place, but that time is not now,” he said.
“Scapegoating of the witnesses who were at the scene must stop. They themselves are traumatised by what they have seen.”
Member for Maroubra Michael Daley told reporters he was “grateful” for emergency services on the scene who had discovered the man’s body.
“I understand those fellas on those jetskis pulled some human remains from the water, so thank you very much for the service they have done,” he said.
“It’s not a nice job. They’re supposed to be saving people’s lives, not pulling body parts from the water. But they’re on duty, they’re always there to keep us safe and we’re very grateful for that.”
NSW treasurer Matt Kean sent his condolences to the victim’s family and loved ones.
“My first reaction was my heart goes out to the victim ‘s family and their loved ones,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“It’s a terrible event to occur, we all love swimming at the beaches, we all love spending time in the sun and the sea, this is not something that we want to see happen.”
The victim is yet to be formally identified.