The waters off Elliston are well-known for sharks. Pic: David Solm
School teacher Simon Baccanello is feared dead after a shark attack. 'He's just been a good teacher for the kids. He was one of a kind and a heart of gold.'
14 May 23
From The Daily Mail:
* How a beloved teacher's Saturday morning surf turned into tragedy - as a terrified teenager boy reveals moment a shark attacked him three times.
* A beloved school teacher believed to be dead after he was mauled by a great white off a popular beach has been idenitfied.
Emergency services rushed to the coastal town of Elliston on the west coast of South Australia's Eyre Peninsula on Saturday morning following reports a surfer had been attacked by a shark at Walkers Rock.
An extensive search was launched for the man believed to have been killed in the attack. His body has not yet been found with the search due to resume at first light on Sunday.
The man has since been identified as local teacher Simon Baccanello, 46, who had began working at Elliston Area School in January.
Mr Baccanello's surfboard has since been retrieved.
A teenage boy, 13, was among those in the water who witnessed the horrifying attack.
'It was such a confronting incident. There were 15 or 20 people out there today. 'It could have been anyone,' Jaiden Millar said.
He saw the teacher's surfboard 'tombstoning' around 500m off shore.
'He was gone. (We) saw the shark just thrashing around out the back. The shark's obviously let go and come back and got him for a third time,' Mr Millar said
Mr Baccanello taught maths, science and health and physical education and had quickly become a much-loved and well respected member of community since moving to Elliston.
'He's just been a good teacher for the kids,' a shocked local told the Adelaide Advertiser.
'In a small town like this everyone gets affected by it.'
Heartbroken friends have taken to social media to pay tribute to Mr Baccanello.
'RIP my brother, taken way too soon and one of the nicest guys I've ever met,' one mate posted.
One woman added: 'He was one of a kind and a heart of gold.'
Current and present students and parents also paid tribute with one mother describing Mr Baccanello as one of the best teachers her daughter ever had.
'Will be sadly missed,' she wrote.
A former student added: 'A generous and beautiful soul. A person I looked up to and a teacher I could always depend on. You made school enjoyable, and you were always there for your students through thick and thin. Mr Baccanello, I will forever remember you for your kindness, dedication and passion. I send my condolences to his family, friends, students and fellow teachers (both past and present). Thank you for everything Mr B.'
The South Australian Ambulance Service told NCA NewsWire they had crews on the beach waiting on standby as SA Police conduct the search.
Helicopters and boats continued to search the waters near Elliston on the Eyre Peninsula.
South Australia Police confirmed the search was still underway, with members of the community and the SES involved.
Superintendent Paul Bahr, Officer in Charge of Eyre and Western Local Service Area thanked the local community for their help during the search.
'It's not easy when it's a local involved but we commend their strength and their want to assist,' Superintendent Bahr said.
'We will continue to search with the assistance of local emergency services and other resources.'
Elliston is located about 650km from Adelaide, and is a spot loved by tourists for its pristine beaches.
- AUTHOR: KYLIE STEVENS
- SOURCE: DAILY MAIL
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