A British expat died after he was mauled by a great white shark off the coast of Australia's Byron Bay as his wife watched on in horror.
Former IT worker and corporate coach Paul Wilcox was bitten on his right leg at the southern end of Clarkes Beach before an onlooker jumped into the ocean to pull him out of the water about 11am local time.
Rescuer Mark Hickey - a Newcastle lawyer who was holidaying in the area - has told how he spent 20 to 30 minutes performing CPR on Mr Wilcox, but could not save him.
Mr Wilcox's mother, Marie, said she had talked to her son just before his swim and she said he died doing something he loved.
"He died doing what he wanted to do ... it's not as though somebody attacked him in the street. It's not as though he was shot in Afghanistan, which mothers have had to go through," she said.
"I had a happy, well-adjusted, lovely, lovely son talking to me the day before - 24 hours later he's dead and I still can't take it in."
Mr Wilcox's step-father, Bryan, 79, revealed he had urged him to be careful as they spoke on the phone from their home near Corwen, North Wales, earlier this week.
"I told Paul to be careful of the sun," he said. "He made a joke and said 'I always wear a wetsuit and I use a lot of sun lotion.' Then he said: 'That's not the problem, the sharks are more of a problem.'"
Two sources confirmed the man's identity on Tuesday evening and police said the man's wife, Victoria Wilcox, was on the beach - about 15 to 20m away - when the incident occurred.
It emerged Mr Wilcox was wearing a dark wetsuit and flippers and may have been mistaken for a seal or a large turtle by the shark.
A NSW Ambulance spokeswoman confirmed a doctor also performed CPR after arriving at the scene.
Mr Wilcox, 50, and originally from Warwickshire in England, and his wife Victoria, had been married for more than 24 years and lived in Byron Bay together.
They had friends visiting and were due to meet them for coffee at 11.30am before the tragic accident happened.
The two-metre shark off the coast of Byron Bay, in northern NSW. It may have mistaken Paul Wilcox for a turtle. Photo / Channel Seven
Mr Wilcox is the founder and managing director of Refocus Learning, a business which he set up in 2000.
On his website, his biography describes him as 'an entrepreneur with a passion for human behaviour'.
The passionate swimmer - who was a member of Byron Bay Swim Club - moved to Australia after working in the IT industry.
His wife Victoria also has her own business in Byron Bay after previously being a personal trainer in Sydney.
She worked at Fitness First Platinum for five years in Sydney and then ran her own studio in Paddington, NSW for a further four years.
The couple relocated "to realise our dream and move to the beautiful hills of Byron Bay".
"It was just circling"
Mr Hickey - who was paddleboarding at the time - described his rescue of Mr Wilcox as traumatising.
The 52-year-old was standing on the beach with his ocean ski when he saw the huge shark circling the man, who was about 30 to 40m out from the shore.
Mr Hickey charged into the bloody water to try and save Mr Wilcox.
"I've seen a lot of sharks over the years, but never anything like this," Mr Hickey told Daily Mail Australia. "It wasn't going away, it was just circling."
Mr Hickey attempted CPR on the swimmer but it was too late.
Witnesses say it took authorities 45 minutes to close the beach. Photo / AP
Paul and Victoria: They had moved to Byron Bay "to realise our dream". Photo / Supplied
Locals at the popular holiday location, on the north coast of NSW, said "the whole town" was in a state of shock.
Mr Hickey told Daily Mail Australia he had felt fine after the rescue, but the shock had started to hit him on Tuesday evening.
Witness Michelle Campano, who is holidaying in Byron Bay, told Daily Mail Australia: "It was so horrible we were swimming and got yelled out of the water. It took them 45 minutes to close the beach. I think the whole town is in shock.'
Earlier on Tuesday, Mark Hickey said Mr Wilcox appeared to have been swimming at the time and it is thought he was doing the popular swim from The Pass to Byron Bay.
Mr Hickey saw what he thought was a turtle and some seaweed in the water about 20 metres away but then realised it was blood and a two-metre shark circling.
"The shark came back to him and had another go. I didn't know it was a person - but when I realised I ran out and waded to the bank and grabbed him and did CPR but it was too late," he told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.
Extraordinary act of bravery
Police have praised the onlooker who risked his own life to pull the man from the water.
It was an "extraordinary act of bravery" and "we can only be thankful for his efforts" they added.
Lifeguards have spotted a shark in the water off the beach, believed to be a Great White.
Inspector Bobbie Cullen said lifeguards were attempting to use a helicopter and jet skis to push the animal out to sea.
She said there was no plan to kill the shark, especially with Great Whites being a protected species.
Mr Wilcox was brought on to the beach but was thought to have died from blood loss in the water.
NSW Ambulance paramedic Andrew Chapman said the man was bitten above the knee.
"It was a fatal bite with major blood loss. He probably died in the water because there was no blood loss on the beach," he told News Corp Australia.
A photographer at the scene said that the body was taken away about 2.30pm and that there were no family members on the beach by the afternoon.
Holidaygoer Christian Campano, 35, told Daily Mail Australia everyone on the beach was shocked.
"(It was) pretty heavy, we're just in shock," Mr Campano said. "It's all starting to hit home."
He and his wife, Michelle, had gone for dip in the ocean when they were pulled from the water after the attack.
The couple headed up the beach and saw the victim receiving CPR.
Eventually, he saw police officers place a blanket over the man's head.
"He just looked still," Mr Campano said.
All beaches closed
It had been the first sunny day Byron had seen in some time, he said.
Sunshine Coast Daily reported the victim was wearing flippers and was swimming.
A NSW police spokesman told Daily Mail Australia: "A man . . . was in the water when he was bitten on the right leg by what is believed to be a shark.
"He was seen floating in shallow water, close to the shore line, and dragged onto the beach. An ambulance was called and he was pronounced dead a short time later.
"Inquiries into the identity of the deceased, and what he was doing in the water at the time of the incident, are continuing.
"A report is being prepared for the Coroner."
Paul Wilcox was a passionate swimmer and had moved to Australia after working in IT. Photo / Supplied
Police have closed all Byron Bay beaches - from Tallows in the south to Belongil Beach in the north - to the public for the next 24 hours.
NSW government officers are being brought in to determine the type of shark involved in the attack.
The beach was not patrolled by lifesavers at the time of the incident. They are due to begin their watch of the beach next week.
A spokesman for NSW Ambulance said: "A rescue helicopter and paramedics were dispatched to the scene.
"A doctor immediately treated the man on the beach but unfortunately despite clinical intervention including CPR the man has been pronounced deceased on the beach as a result of his fatal injuries."
A worker at Byron Bay Beach Cafe said: "We can't really see anything from this part of the beach but we heard the helicopter go over. It is a nice day and we have been really busy."
"One in a million kind of thing"
A spokesman for Westpac Life Saver Rescue for the Northern Region told Daily Mail Australia: "We were called at 10.50am with reports of a man who had been pulled out the water suffering a cardiac arrest. We were tasked but didn't actually get to the scene because the situation was too dire."
Shiney Lefai, 50, who runs Wedding Celebrant on Clarkes Beach told Daily Mail Australia: "I was in the cafe when I heard the helicopter going overhead. I saw the paramedics and the police rushing to the scene but it was too late. It was definitely not a surfer, I think it was someone just swimming.
"It is shocking with the amount of people that have come down for holidays.
"A shark attack is a one in a million kind of thing, it's not something that you think will happen.
"I have heard of sharks being sighted at Julian Rocks before, I have never heard of someone being killed by a shark at Byron before.
"I have lived here for over 10 years and it is the first time I have heard of it. Everyone in the town is shocked and thinking "it could have been me".
"Everyone swims and it is a beautiful summer day, there were more people swimming than usual."
On April 3, a swimmer named Christine Armstrong, was also killed by a shark on NSW's south coast.
The 63-year-old was attached at a Tathra beach while swimming with her husband as part of a group of five.
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