Diving instructor Simon Nellist, 35, was killed by a shark off Little Bay in Sydney on Wednesday in the first fatal attack seen in the area for 60 years
The heartbroken family of a British diving instructor killed by a shark in Australia have paid an emotional tribute to the “wonderful human being”.
Simon Nellist, 35, died after being attacked by a 13ft great white on Wednesday off the coast of Little Bay in Sydney.
It was the first shark fatality for nearly 60 years in the area and onlookers watched from the beach in horror as the predator pounced from under the water.
Simon, an expat diving instructor who grew up in Cornwall, was a “wonderful human being” and “very talented photographer”, his family said.
In an emotional statement, they said: “Simon was a gentle, kind and wonderful human being. He was a cherished fiancée, son, brother, uncle and friend.
“Simon was funny, compassionate and always had time for people. He had a rare gift of instantly being able to connect with others, gaining their trust and respect.”
“Simon had a great passion for nature and the sea, as well as being a very talented photographer.”
They added they were very proud of him and will “miss him terribly.”
Drum lines, which are used to bait sharks, were set up near the attack site and drones were deployed as officials searched in case the shark was still in the area.
AFP via Getty Images)
A video shared online showed a shark attacking a person on Wednesday afternoon off Little Bay beach, about 12 miles south of Australia’s largest city and near the entrance to Botany Bay.
He grew up in Penzance, Cornwall, but after serving two tours in Afghanistan he moved to Australia and was due to marry the “girl of his dreams” Jessica Ho.
A lover of animals, his aunt Jacqui Seager, 62, said that he wouldn’t want the shark to now be destroyed.
“I don’t think Simon would want the shark to be killed. I have loved nature,” she said, reported the Daily Mail.
“He swam with sharks before. This isn’t the first time he’s gone out and seen them but he would still go out swimming. That’s brave. I don’t think he ever thought they would hurt him. Sadly, this time it managed to get to him.”
She said how he would go out swimming most days and that the family was now devastated, claiming his parents “will never get through this, ever, as this is something you keep with you for life.”
Mrs Seager stressed: “Simon always loved the sea. He was always very close to it. He loved wildlife and the world. He had a real love affair with nature. He was a very kind and considerate man who just loved life.
“He was a strong guy and did two tours of Afghanistan. His mum said how he could return from the frontline unscathed to then go to Australia, go out for a swim and get killed.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.