Tadashi Nakahara, inset, was killed by a suspected great white shark at Ballina.
Tadashi Nakahara, inset, was killed by a suspected great white shark at Ballina. Facebook (inset) / Twitter

Ballina shark attack victim was 'warm, kind, loyal'

UPDATE: WEBSTER Surfboards, the company which Mr Nakahara also worked as a distributor for, has posted a touching message to their "mate" on their Facebook page.

"This one for you Tadashi. Proud to call you mate and everything you did for me. You loved your sport of surfing and your boy even more. Gunna miss you mate and I hope it's pumping where you are now. Keep smiling."

 

INITIAL REPORT: FRIENDS and colleagues of fatal shark attack victim Tadashi Nakahara have remembered him as a "passionate, warm, kind, loyal and hard working man".

The Japanese national, 41, was killed when he was attacked by a four-metre shark at Ballina yesterday.

He had been surfing at Speeds Reef, between Shelly and Lighthouse beaches, when the attack happened about 9.45am.

He died from blood loss at the scene.

Mr Nakahara had lived in the area for many years, and worked at the Ramada Hotel and Suites in Martin St.

The hotel's general manager, Karen Whiteford, said they were "shocked and saddened" by the tragic loss of their "much loved friend and colleague".

"Our deepest sympathies go out to Tadashi's family," she said.

"Tadashi was one of our longest serving employees who had worked at the hotel since 2008.

"He was highly respected and valued ... we will all feel the void left by Tadashi's sudden passing and he will be greatly missed."

SCENE OF TRAGEDY: Shelly Beach, Ballina, was closed after local Tadashi Nakahara died in a shark attack yesterday.
SCENE OF TRAGEDY: Shelly Beach, Ballina, was closed after local Tadashi Nakahara died in a shark attack yesterday. Marc Stapelberg

Despite yesterday's fatal shark attack, local surfers called for calm, and said it would not keep them from hitting the water.

Police hailed one group of surfers as heroes after they swam through blood-stained surf to drag the victim to shore.

Yesterday a shark expert was called in to help police determine what species was responsible and whether it still posed a threat to humans.

RELATED: WITNESS TELLS OF SHARK ATTACK

PREDATOR WAS AFTER BAITFISH SAYS EXPERT

Ballina mayor David Wright said it was a "wake up call" and that Ballina would likely notice a negative impact on tourism numbers.

"You've just got to keep your eyes out," he said.

"We pride ourselves in being a tourist town and this sort of thing doesn't help.

"It wouldn't keep me out of the water, no.

"I've surfed from Byron Bay as a kid, I've been beside sharks.

"We used to go swimming when the jetty was there when the meatworks and whaling companies pumped out their stuff.

"It's an accident and I don't think any time there's a shark attack we can close all the beaches, but this one was very unfortunate."

Ballina surf lifesavers watch the water for any sign of the shark during the ongoing operation.
Ballina surf lifesavers watch the water for any sign of the shark during the ongoing operation.

Justin Donovan, who lives just up the road from Shelly Beach, said it was rare to see sharks where the man was attacked.

"It could happen to anyone ... that's their territory, not ours," he said.

"I was hoping I don't know who it is.

"It doesn't matter. Either way it's a sad loss for the Ballina surfing community."

Police and beach goers share Shelly Beach.
Police and beach goers share Shelly Beach.

He said experienced older surfers had been warning of sharks recently, due to murky water and large schools of baitfish.

Ballina's Matthew Tanttari, who also lives near Shelly Beach, said he had seen many dolphins in the area, but never a shark.

Police interview people at the scene of the shark attack in Ballina.
Police interview people at the scene of the shark attack in Ballina.

He said he'd be back at the beach today, but admitted he was somewhat hesitant.

"It's always in the back of my mind. Every time we come down its like, 'oh, wonder if there's sharks out'," he said.

"I'll be back here tomorrow. Just be a bit more sober-minded about the whole thing."

Shortly after yesterday's incident, a small crowd of onlookers still sat gazing out at Shelly Beach's crashing waves, while a pod of dolphins gracefully dipped through the water near where the victim was attacked.



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