The terrifying moment great white took diver

By Andrew Koubaridis of

Shark attack victim Sam Kellett. Photo / Supplied
Shark attack victim Sam Kellett. Photo / Supplied

Friends of a spear fisherman Sam Kellett watched in disbelief as a great white shark launched itself out of the water leaving a pool of blood where he had been moments earlier.

The shark "thrashed" about on the surface of the water at the exact spot the 28-year-old was last seen. His body was never found and now an inquest into his death has found he was taken by a great white shark.

Mr Kellett, a teacher at Glenunga International High School, was freediving with friends off South Australia's Goldsmith Beach on February 8, 2014. The group had planned to take part in the Yorke Peninsula Classic Spear Fishing the next day.

When the attack occurred he was slightly behind two friends in about 6m of water.

Wyatt Raymount heard a scream and looked across the water. He saw a shark thrashing where Mr Kellett had been moments before, according to just released inquest findings.

"After I saw the fish thrashing I looked under the water and saw the shark. From what I saw I assumed the shark had Sam, I didn't see Sam, however it was in the exact position that I had last seen Sam. It was thrashing and moving around a bit. I saw the shark vertical with its tail towards the bottom and its head near the surface.'

Mr Raymount's screams alerted others in the group. Aaron Whitaker, another diver, gave evidence to Coroner Mark Johns that he saw the shark's tail come out of the water about 5m away from him. It too, was in the precise location Mr Kellett had been.

He began to frantically swim away, checking behind him to see to make sure the "shark wasn't coming for me".

He could see a shadow in the water behind him.

"I put my face under the water to see the shark but couldn't see it. All of a sudden a white pointer shark came out of the murky water, vertically towards the surface just behind me and it almost launched itself out of the water."

He saw it grab something - and assumed it was Mr Kellett.

"After the shark came up I saw a lot of blood in the water. I saw the shark right near Sam's float and I knew Sam was at his float when I first saw the shark. Although I didn't actually see the shark grabbing Sam I am sure that the shark took him judging by how close the shark was to his float."

Nicholas Carlson was about 25m away from where Mr Kellett was and was under water when the screaming began. He came to the surface in time to see the shark "launch" itself out of the water.

"I think the shark was about five metres long and it was a dark grey colour. It looked like a great white shark. It all happened so fast. When the shark went to dive back down it made large splashes and the water all around was bright red like blood. I didn't see Sam at all during the attack. After the shark disappeared the blood still remained in the water and Sam was nowhere to be seen."

Water police searched for Mr Kellett but couldn't find his body. What they did recover was two weight ingots used in free diving, and a loaded speargun that belonged to Mr Kellett.

The items had "incisions" an expert told the inquest were consistent with great white teeth impressions.

Coroner Johns was in no doubt Mr Kellett was dead and a shark was to blame.

"In the circumstances I have no hesitation in finding that Mr Kellett was attacked by a shark on 8 February 2014, in the region of Goldsmith Beach and that he died as a result of the attack," he said.


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