A tooth lodged in a surfer’s longboard has confirmed he was killed by a white pointer after authorities questioned whether a tiger shark found dead in the same waters was responsible.
Nick Slater, 46, was fatally mauled at about 5pm on Tuesday off popular Greenmount Beach, on the Gold Coast tourist strip, where swimmers are protected by shark netting.
Early analysis of the tooth and the imprint of the animal’s jaw on Mr Slater’s surfboard revealed it was likely a 3.5m white pointer shark.
Nick Slater, 46, was fatally mauled at about 5pm on Tuesday off popular Greenmount Beach, on the Gold Coast tourist strip, in a rare attack where swimmers are protected by shark netting
A tooth lodged in a surfer’s longboard has confirmed he was killed by a white pointer
The tooth left embedded in Mr Slater’s surfboard has been taken away for analysis to find out what kind of shark attacked him
A photo of the tooth has been released by the Department of Fisheries, revealing it was 45mm long and 30mm wide.
It comes after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a large tiger shark was found tangled in a net off Greenmount Beach just hours after the tragedy.
‘Further investigations will be conducted to discover if there is any link between it and the fatal attack,’ Palaszczuk told state parliament.
The 46-year-old suffered serious leg injuries and was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene minutes after they arrived.
His death is only the second fatal shark attack at one of Queensland’s 85 beaches that have been protected by nets and drum lines since 1962, the state government said.
Before nets were put in place, the last fatal shark attack off a Gold Coast beach – 24 of which are now netted – was in 1958.
Fellow surfer Jade Parker was getting ready to hit the water when he spotted Mr Slater floating motionless next to his board in the line-up.
He waded out to help other surfers and lifeguards bring in Mr Slater.
Longboard rider Nick Slater, 46, was mauled to death by a shark on the Gold Coast on Tuesday
Surf cameras captured the moment Mr Slater was killed by a great white shark at a netted Gold Coast beach in the first fatal attack in the region since 1958
Surfer Jade Parker told 7News he first spotted a school of fish and up to 30 birds near the victim, which is what attracted the shark to the surfer
Pictured: Lifeguards on jet skis search the water at Greenmount Beach on Wednesday
Mr Parker found the 4cm tooth lodged in Mr Slater’s board, which he said was from ‘an obvious white pointer’.
‘It was a good size bite to the board,’ he told Seven Network on Wednesday.
Mr Parker said the injury stretched from the ‘groin area to just below his knee’.
‘It was pretty much all taken… there was nothing there, it was just hanging there by not much,’ he said.
‘I do not want to get to the gory parts but he was in a bad way. He was not conscious. It looked like he had already pretty much passed away at that point in time.’
Gold Coast chief lifeguard Warren Young told Nine News by the time lifeguards got out to Mr Slater to bring him back to shore he was likely already dead.
Family and friends have flooded social media with tributes to Mr Slater, who has been described as an avid adventurer.
‘I’ll never forget the look on Dave’s face as we found your car last night alone in the car park, confirmation of our worst nightmare,’ Mr Slater’s good friend Jasmine Robson wrote online.
A dead tiger shark was caught in a net off the same Gold Coast beach where the real estate agent died
Mr Slater is assisted by fellow surfers and beachgoers after he was bitten by a shark on Tuesday
‘Expecting you to be back in an hour after catching a few waves.’
Mr Slater’s Instagram page showed a live full of adventure, most of his pictures captured in the ocean.
‘Just give me sunshine through the autumn, sweet snow to the spring,’ a caption on one of the images said.
Pictured: Mr Slater was was a real estate agent who lived in Miami on the Gold Coast
The horrific mauling was captured by surf watch cameras and witnessed by at least one other rider.
Mourners descended on Greenmount Beach on Wednesday morning to pay their respects as a Westpac Lifesaver Rescue helicopter circled in the area after first light looking for sharks.
Beaches from Burleigh to Snapper Rocks have been closed and lifeguards are patrolling the waters on jet skis.
Thomas Richard Tate, Mayor of the Gold Coast, offered his condolences to Mr Slater’s family on Wednesday morning.
‘Last time we’ve had a shark attack is 1958, over 60 years ago,’ he told Today.
‘It doesn’t matter how long it has been, still a devastating shock to the community of the Gold Coast.’
The mayor said the beaches would remain closed until it is determined the shark is no longer in the vicinity.
Mr Tate said the shark attack was a reminder to all beachgoers to ‘look after your mates’.
Two surfers are seen walking near a ‘danger’ sign on Wednesday morning as beaches are shut from Burleigh to Snapper Rocks
Two women hug at Greenmount Beach on Wednesday morning, following the death of a surfer
Coastalwatch footage captured the moment a surfer brought the injured man to shore with the help of other beachgoers
‘I mean really it brings to reality, when we go off the land we go into water, it is the shark’s domain,’ he said.
He said the attack could damage the region’s COVID-19-ravaged tourism industry and urged people wanting to swim to do so north of Burleigh.
‘It brings to reality, when we go off the land we go into the water, it is the shark’s domain. The danger’s there,’ he said.
Footage from a Swellnet surf camera shows Mr Slater sitting in the water at the end of the line-up before the shark grabs him and pulls him under.
Water can be seen splashing around before the black silhouette of the shark swims away but surfers just metres away seem oblivious to what is happening.
Mr Slater is then seen floating face down in the water before fellow board-riders drag him to shore.
Coastalwatch footage showed the moment directly after the attack, when a surfer paddled the victim to shore with the help of other beachgoers.
A lifeguard vehicle is seen parked on the sand as surfers leave Greenmount Beach on Wednesday morning
Greenmount Beach will remain closed until it’s determined there are no longer sharks in the area
Greenmount Beach was closed on Wednesday morning after a surfer was mauled by a shark on Tuesday
Lifeguards were seen waiting on the sand before frantically working to treat the severe injury as emergency crews rushed to the popular tourist spot.
Mr Slater, who was surfing alone, was pronounced dead minutes after they arrived.
Beaches remain officially closed to swimmers from the NSW border to Burleigh Heads, an area about 20km long.
Queensland Lifesaving supervisor Nathan Fife warned swimmers that large fish ‘bait balls’ and whales migrating south were likely to attract sharks toward the coast.
‘Don’t swim at dawn or dusk. That is the time marine life is feeding,’ he said.
Greenmount Beach is one of several on the Gold Coast that has a shark net. It also has eight drumlines.
Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said they were regularly checked and the government remained committed to the state’s shark control program at 86 beaches from the Gold Coast to Cairns.
A woman sits on a rock and looks out to the water at Greenmount Beach on Wednesday morning
A man walks past a sign declaring Greenmount Beach is closed on Wednesday morning