Great white shark fatally attacks swimmer on Sydney beach
Kharis Lianto/News Media Network

The man who died in the first fatal shark attack in Sydney in almost 60 years on Wednesday has been identified as British expat Simon Nellist.

The 35-year-old reportedly worked as a diving instructor in the area, and was engaged to an Australian woman. He was training for a charity ocean swim when he was killed in Little Bay.

According to emergency services, the swimmer suffered “catastrophic injuries” after being bitten by a shark around 4.5 metres long.

The animal “attacked him vertically” and caused the water to fill with blood during the incident, witnesses said.

It’s the first fatal attack in the city since 1963, which saw 32-year-old actress Marcia Hathaway die while swimming in Middle Harbour. There was a non-fatal attack at Congwong Beach, Botany Bay back in February 2018.

The incident took place on Wednesday in Little BayFlickr/Pranav Bhatt

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A rescue helicopter and four ambulances were unable to save the man after arriving at the beach, which is found in the eastern Sydney suburbs. The event took place at around 4.30pm local time on Wednesday.

Witness Kris Linto told Nine News: “Some guy was swimming and a shark came and attacked him vertically.

“We heard a yell and turned around. It looked like a car had landed in the water, a big splash then the shark was chomping at the body and there was blood everywhere.”

Linto also claimed that the man was attacked by a great white shark. However, this has yet to be confirmed.

He claimed the shark was a great white but this has not been confirmed.

Beaches in the area, including Little Bay, Malabar, Maroubra, Coogee, Clovelly and La Perouse were then closed for 24 hours.

Randwick mayor Dylan Parker said: “Little Bay is normally such a calm, beautiful place, enjoyed by families. To lose someone to a shark like this is chilling. We are all in shock.”

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