Tributes for ‘humble soul’ killed by shark

 

 

TRIBUTES are flowing for a "humble, ocean-loving soul" and "champion bloke" who was fatally mauled by a 3m great white shark while surfing off the Tweed Coast, despite courageous efforts by fellow boardriders to fight off the man-eater.

The man, believed to be 60-year-old tradie Rob Pedretti from Tugun on the southern Gold Coast, was attacked about 10am while surfing at Kingscliff.

His mate and another surfer tried bravely to fight off the shark which latched onto Mr Pedretti's left thigh, causing what police described as "catastrophic" injuries.

"The actions of those people was nothing short of heroic in making every attempt to save this gentleman," Tweed-Byron police inspector Matt Kehoe said.

 

Surfer Rob Pedretti was fatally attacked at Kingscliff.
Surfer Rob Pedretti was fatally attacked at Kingscliff.

 

"Those two males had to fight off the shark and we'll certainly be recognising their actions at a later stage for their heroic nature.

"They got him on one of the boards and tried to stabilise him and take him to shore."

Insp Kehoe said the men managed to get Mr Pedretti to shore but there was nothing that could be done to save him.

 

Rob Pedretti has been remembered as a “champion bloke”.
Rob Pedretti has been remembered as a “champion bloke”.

 

"Sadly, he was deceased at the scene. He suffered a significant bite to his left thigh," the officer said.

"It was a catastrophic injury and he was deceased when he was brought to shore, despite the efforts of those two gentlemen. They did everything they could to save him.

"It's terrible - terrible for his family and obviously quite difficult for the emergency services that attended the scene."

A large shark was seen lurking in the area after the attack and the NSW Department of Fisheries was hunting it, helped by water police and surf lifesavers on jet skis and the Westpac rescue helicopter.

 

In a Facebook tribute, one friend described Mr Pedretti as a "humble, ocean-loving soul".

"(He) surfed a lot, travelled a lot … a lone ranger," the friend posted.

Another friend wrote that 'Robbo' was a "champion bloke, nicest guy you would ever meet".

"Apparently the boys tried to fight the shark off but he didn't make it to the beach in time," he said.

 

The scene of the fatal shark attack. Picture: Scott Powick
The scene of the fatal shark attack. Picture: Scott Powick

 

"Our thoughts go out to Rob Pedretti's family, who was tragically taken doing what he loved today," another friend posted.

"Rob was a humble soul, an honest man, a dependable mate," Mr Currie

said in a heartfelt Facebook tribute.

Two of Mr Pedretti's friends, Brian Currie and Tim Buckley, said their mate was an "easygoing, great bloke" who loved surf trips and was fun to travel with.

"To think he got taken by a shark out of left field … I can't even get my head around it," Mr Currie told Nine News.

 

Others tried to save Mr Pedretti but he was dead when they brought him to shore.
Others tried to save Mr Pedretti but he was dead when they brought him to shore.

 

Mr Buckley said: "It's always someone you don't know (who gets attacked by a shark). When it does hit this close to home, it really affects you and the people who loved him and hung with him and his family."

While Gold Coast beaches are protected by a network of shark nets and drumlines, the Tweed Coast is not.

 

Police and surf crews at the scene. Picture: Scott Powick
Police and surf crews at the scene. Picture: Scott Powick

 

So-called SMART drumlines, which alert authorities when a shark is caught, were installed after a spate of fatal shark attacks around Ballina several years ago.

Jonathan Raud and Jack Ahern were spearfishing in nearby Cudgen Creek when the horrific attack happened.

 

Witnesses said a three metre shark was behind the attack. This shark was spotted at Salt Beach, near the fatal attack, Sunday morning Picture: 7NEWS
Witnesses said a three metre shark was behind the attack. This shark was spotted at Salt Beach, near the fatal attack, Sunday morning Picture: 7NEWS

 

"We noticed the mullet were just jumping heavily - I saw a small bull shark - and then we started hearing the helicopters," he said.

"We're just completely shocked - you don't see that kind of stuff happen too often. Its crazy, very sad.

 

Locals and those at the scene were shocked by the incident. Picture: 7NEWS
Locals and those at the scene were shocked by the incident. Picture: 7NEWS

 

"There's been some attacks at Fingal but not usually here. That's life, I guess, when you go in the water - you're always at risk of potentially getting attacked.

"It's very sad. You don't want it to happen to anyone."

 

A jet ski is used to move a shark off near the scene of the fatal attack. Picture: 7NEWS
A jet ski is used to move a shark off near the scene of the fatal attack. Picture: 7NEWS

 

Surfers who arrived at the beach in the wake of the attack were turned away by police and lifesavers.

"We came down and we hadn't got in the water and police were immediately hauling people in," Kingscliff local Stuart Gonsal said.

"A lot of people were still stuck out the back there."

All Tweed Coast beaches were closed for 24 hours. Lifesavers said they would reassess the situation Monday morning.

 

The scene at Salt Beach, Kingscliff, Sunday. Picture: 7NEWS
The scene at Salt Beach, Kingscliff, Sunday. Picture: 7NEWS

 

 

 

Fatal shark attacks in the Gold Coast/Tweed region since 2000

APRIL 8, 2008

Student Peter Edmond, 16, was killed while bodyboarding off Ballina's Lighthouse Beach.

NOVEMBER 29, 2013

Zac Young, 19 died after being attacked by a shark while bodyboarding near Riecks Point in northern NSW

SEPTEMBER 9, 2014

Paul Wilcox, 50 died after receiving severe leg injures in a shark attack at Byron Bay. Witnesses said they saw a 3m great white shark in the water.

FEBRUARY 9, 2015

Surfer Tadashi Nakahara was killed in a fatal shark attack off Ballina's Shelly Beach.

JUNE 7, 2020

60-year-old Gold Coast man Rob Pedretti died after being bitten in a fatal shark attack off South Kingscliff Beach

 

Originally published as Tributes for 'humble soul' killed by shark


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