Tribute to Shark Attack Victim Sees Hundreds of Surfers Form Circle in the Ocean

Surfers have paid tribute to a shark attack victim whose body was never found by forming a massive circle in the ocean on Sunday.

More than 200 friends and family of the victim, Andrew Sharpe, as well as members of the local community paddled out into the water off the southern coast of Australia near the town of Esperance to pay their respects by laying flowers and holding a minute's silence, Daily Mail Australia reported.

Dozens more stood by on the shore to watch the tribute, which ended with the surfers splashing the water. A wake was then held, with attendees wearing brightly-coloured clothing in honor of the deceased.

Sharpe—affectionately known as "Sharpey" to those who knew him—was killed by a great white shark while surfing with friends in Wylie Bay near Esperance on October 9.

The shark "flung" Sharpe into the air during the attack, biting him on the leg and eventually dragging him underwater.

Police subsequently conducted a search for Sharpe but it was called off after two days, with the body not recovered.

Pieces of Sharpe's wetsuit and his surfboard with bite marks were found hours after the attack, washed up on nearby beaches.

After police called off the search, Sharpe's family released a tribute describing him as a "loving father, life partner and brother."

"He would do anything for anyone and was a great and loyal mate to his friends and people he met," the family said.

"He was an experienced surfer of 40 years and he loved the ocean immensely. He knew the risks and we knew the risks as well. They had been discussed often. He will be greatly missed by us all."

Following Sunday's touching tribute, the family thanked all those who attended the memorial event.

"Andrew's family would like to thank everyone that helped celebrate Andrew's life yesterday with 200 mates in the water and even more on the beach," the family said, according to the Kalgoorlie Miner local newspaper.

"Carparks were full and cars parked on the side all the way back two kilometers [1.2 miles] to Fourth Beach."

Shark attacks are rare, and fatal incidents even rarer. According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) operated by the Florida Museum of Natural History, the odds of being killed by a shark are around one in 3.7 million. This is lower than the odds of being killed by lightning.

Despite this, Australia is one of the world's shark attack hotspots. In 2020, seven people have been killed by sharks in the country's waters.

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Stock image showing a school of sharks. Surfers paid tribute to a shark attack victim whose body was never found on Sunday. iStock