Police have suspended the search for 52-year-old Andrew Sharpe, who was mauled by a shark off Esperance on Western Australia’s south coast on Friday.
WA Police Senior Sergeant Justin Tarasinksi said the search was suspended at 12.30pm (AWST) amid rough conditions.
“With the size of the swell this morning, it was a 2.5-metre swell and the fact that they were operating in a surf break just made it too dangerous for them to be able to continue with their efforts this morning,” he said.
“So the police dive team are now headed back to Perth.”
Senior Sergeant Tarasinski praised the Sharpe family for the way they had handled the news of the suspension.
“It’s never easy to sit down with the family and tell them that you’re suspending the search,” he said.
“What I will say is that Mr Sharpe’s family have been absolutely fantastic in the way that they’re handling that side of things.
“It was actually with their blessing and almost their suggestion that the search be suspended and that everybody has already done over and above what their expectations were.”
WA’s Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley was heading to the town to discuss more shark mitigation measures with the community.
WA Premier Mark McGowan suggested he would discuss whether the community wanted a shark net installed to protect swimmers, noting one would not have saved Mr Sharpe.
Mr McGowan also flagged a discussion about further shark tagging measures.