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Sydney reopens beaches after fatal shark attack
Sydney reopened beaches to surfers and swimmers on Friday after failing to find a large, great white shark that devoured a swimmer in the Australian city's first such attack since 1963.
A 35-year-old British diving instructor, Simon Nellist, was identified by national broadcaster ABC and other media as the victim of Wednesday's attack, which led the authorities to close a string of beaches including the iconic Bondi Beach.
Fishermen and golfers watched helplessly from nearby cliffs as a shark mauled the swimmer to death in a horrific attack off Sydney's Little Bay Beach.
Emergency responders described his injuries as "catastrophic".
After the attack, drones scoured the ocean from the air, spotters launched on boats and six drum lines were set to try to catch the creature, which is believed to be at least three metres (10 feet) in length.
But no shark was seen.
"There have been no further sighting of sharks in the area, so beaches have been cleared to re-open on Friday 18 February 2022," the mayor of Sydney's Randwick local government area, Dylan Parker, said on the eve of the reopening.
Shortly after dawn on Friday, about a hundred swimmers at Bondi Beach stood in a circle on the sand and heads-bowed paid their respects to Nellist.
They then entered the surf on mass, and after a ritual swim beyond the breaking waves, regrouped to form another vast circle in moving tribute.
"Ocean swimming is a special sport that has given me so much and I'm proud to be a part of this beautiful community," said Bondi lifeguard and local celebrity Andrew 'Reidy' Reid. "Rest In Peace Simon."
"Everything that is connected to Simon is connected to the ocean," Della Ross, a reported friend of the victim, told Australia's Channel Seven news.
"The news hit us like a truck because he was one of the people who make this earth lighter."
The man's former employers before he moved to Australia, the Queens Hotel in Penzance, Cornwall, said they were "shocked" by his death.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Simon Nellist and his family, fiance and friends at this sad time," the hotel said on Facebook, describing him as a "wonderful man".