Great white shark killed ‘hero’ surfer dad as he warned friends to swim to shore

News

The devastated daughters of a hero surfer who was mauled to death by a great white shark have described their dad as a “truly special soul”

Mark Sanguinetti was fatally attacked by the 4.5 metre shark on Tuesday while surfing with friends off Tuncurry Beach near Forster on the NSW Mid North Coast.

The 59-year-old, from Sydney, desperately tried to warn others about the shark before he was bitten on his right upper thigh.

Mr Sanguinetti leaves behind two daughters – Bella and Jemima, reports 7 News.

In a hand-written note posted online, the daughters described their dad as a “legend”.

“Dad was a truly special soul,” the heartbreaking note read.

“A kind, generous, thoughtful man, friend, and father.

“He saw the light within everyone and every situation.

“He’s home now, in the ocean and in our hearts, and he’ll be riding the waves of life with us forever.”

The sisters added: “Some new knew him as Skidders, some as Big Marky, and others as Ba, but we all knew him as a legend with a heart as deep and vast as the ocean, which was his first of many loves.

“If you knew him, you understand how lucky you were to.”

After the fatal attack, three friends dragged Mr Sanguinetti to shore and, with the help of bystanders – which included an off-duty paramedic – they commenced CPR.

The dad reportedly went into cardiac arrest due to significant blood loss and was pronounced dead at the scene.

NSW Ambulance Inspector Joshua Smyth said: “Bystanders, including a retired paramedic, did a valiant job pulling the patient from the water and commencing CPR before paramedics arrived.

“These people should be commended for their brave actions.

“Paramedics and police worked well together in what was a confronting scene in difficult terrain.

“Our sympathies are with the man’s family at this difficult time.”

Mr Sanguinetti’s daughters said they have planned a paddle out tribute to remember their father on May 24 at Palm Beach.

Police said the attack left the surfer with fatal injuries to his upper right thigh.

“It’s believed that when the attack occurred the man did actually see the shark and called out to try and warn others,” Superintendent Christopher Schilt said.

“Very heroically, his friends were able to bring him back in to shore after he had been attacked.”

Following the attack, Tuncurry Beach and Forster Main Beach were closed by New South Wales Police.

In a bid to catch the great white shark, estimated to be 4.5m (14ft) in length by experts, several drumlines were dropped into the water hundreds of metres behind the breakers on Tuesday night.

Police confirmed four white sharks were caught, tagged and released by Wednesday morning.

All of the sharks found were different lengths to the one involved in the devastating attack.

Brian Wilcox, from the nearby Surf Life Saving branch, described the attack was “unprecedented”.

“I can’t recall ever having a shark attack in this area,” he told ABC News.

Police said Mr Sanguinetti’s surfboard was damaged in the attack, and it will be forensically examined to assess what kind of shark it was.

It marks Australia’s first confirmed fatal shark attack this year, according to the Taronga Conservation Society.

The DPI has advised water users and beach goers to follow the NSW SharkSmart Twitter feed or download the SharkSmart app for the latest information on shark movements and sightings.