News State NSW News Beach remains closed as tributes flow for surfer killed by shark

Beach remains closed as tributes flow for surfer killed by shark

Rob Pedretti was remembered as a ‘mellow guy’ who died doing what he loved. Photo: AAP
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Two fellow surfers are to be honoured as tributes flow for a “gentleman” surfer killed by a great white shark in northern NSW.

Rob Pedretti died on Sunday after he was mauled by the three-metre shark at Salt Beach at South Kingscliff, which will remain closed until Tuesday.

Members of the surfing community have taken to social media to pay their respects to the 60-year-old and to acknowledge the hero surfers who helped him back to the beach.

Mark McDougall from the Palm Beach Boardriders described how Mr Pedretti was “tragically taken doing what he loved”.

Friend Tim Buckley posted on the same Facebook page the shark made more than one attempt to attack Mr Pedretti.

Two surfers fought off the shark and brought him to shore, but he died on the beach.

“Twice the shark come back to attack , Frank , was surfing with him , protected him , got him in ,,,,but passed due to the severed tendon … you guys are brave,” he wrote.

Mr Pedretti was bitten on the back of his thigh as he was in the water.

NSW Police Service Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe said he would recommend the pair be honoured for their bravery.

“The actions of the two surfers involved yesterday were extraordinary in the circumstances,” he said on Monday.

“They put themselves at great personal risk and it certainly warrants recognition.”

Other friends have described Mr Pedretti as a gentleman who was always relaxed and had a smile on his face.

“RIP Rob, condolences to your family and friends,” Greg Johnston wrote.

“Such a shock to everyone that it was you. You were always so chilled and good for a chat to anyone and everyone.”

An aerial shot of the great white shark circling at Kingscliff Beach after the fatal attack. Photo: AAP

Police were on Sunday given permission to destroy the shark, however the order has since expired.

But beaches in the Tweed Shire Council area will remain closed until Tuesday morning, when the situation will be reassessed.

Detective Inspector Kehoe said in addition to a shark sighting at Fingal Head on Monday morning, there were lots of bait fish and whales in the water.

“It’s too difficult for us to say that it is the shark yesterday but we really don’t want to take any chances,” he said.

Jimmy Keough from Surf Life Saving NSW urged swimmers and surfers to heed the warnings and stay out of the water.

Mr Keough also confirmed drone surveillance of the water finished at the end of May, less than two weeks ago.

There have now been three fatal shark attacks in Australia in 2020.

Gary Johnson, 57, an experienced diver was killed by a shark near Cull Island in Esperance on Western Australia’s south coast in January.

A shark also killed 23-year-old Queensland ranger Zachary Robba in April off North West Island some 50km east of Rockhampton

-with AAP