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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fatal shark attack at Byron Bay

Mr Wilcox and his wife Victoria

A shark killed British-born Paul Wilcox yesterday morning at Clarks Beach near Byron Bay, while his wife sat watching on the beach.  He wasn't far out, just 20 metres, and bled out in the water when a 2 metre shark bit off part of his leg.  It was later found floating nearby.

Mr Wilcox's distraught wife

Another man on the beach, Newcastle solicitor Mark Hickey who was on holidays at Byron, saw something was wrong and rushed in to help him.  Even though the water was bloody and the shark was still swimming around, Mr Hickey grabbed him and dragged him back to the beach.  

Mark Hickey

There is some speculation that because Mr Wilcox was wearing a wetsuit, the shark thought he was a seal.

There were no lifeguards on duty as they don't officially start until schools break up next week.

Great white sharks are a protected species but police said if it continued to put local swimmers in danger, permission could be sought to kill it.  Lifeguards on jet skis chased it out to sea until it disappeared into deep water.

Mr Wilcox was originally from Warwickshire but moved to Sydney and later to the coastal town of Byron Bay.  Shark sightings are rare at Byron Bay and fatal attacks are even rarer.  In 1993 a diver was killed at Julian Rocks, about 2.5 kms offshore.