Simon Nellist Wiki – Biography
Simon Nellist died in the great white shark attack on Wednesday off Little Bay, east Sydney – the first fatal attack in Sydney for 60 years.
The family of a British man killed by a shark in Australia have paid tribute to “a wonderful human being” who had a “rare gift” of connecting with people.
He was 35 years old.
Nellist, a diving instructor, had grown up in the west Cornwall village of Ludgvan near Penzance before emigrating to Australia, where he had set up home with his fiancee, Jessie Ho, whom he was about to marry.
The former RAF engineer, who survived two tours of Afghanistan, was a “proud Cornishman” and a “very talented photographer”, the family said, adding they would “miss him terribly”.
Kris Linto, who witnessed the attack, told Australian network Nine News: “[The person] was swimming and a shark came and attacked [him] vertically. We heard a yell and turned around, it looked like a car had landed in the water, a big splash then the shark.”
Reports said authorities had retrieved body parts from the water.
Deadly shark attacks are rare in Sydney as it has various deterrents, including nets, in the waters. The last fatal shark attack in Sydney is believed to have been in 1963.
Following Wednesday’s incident, a UK spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said consular staff were in touch with New South Wales police. “We are supporting the family of a British man and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time,” the FCDO spokesperson added.
Family Pay Tributes
“Simon was a gentle, kind and wonderful human being. He was a cherished fiance, son, brother, uncle and friend,” they said.
“Simon was funny, compassionate and always had time for people. He had a rare gift of instantly being able to connect with others, gaining their trust and respect. Simon had a great passion for nature and the sea, as well as being a very talented photographer.”
Nellist would swim regularly at the beach, the BBC reported and had been training for a charity swim when he was attacked.
State government shark experts who analysed footage of the incident, which a public member had recorded, said they believed the predator to be a great white shark that was “at least three metres” long.
Most city beaches were initially shut after the incident, and swimmers had been banned from the water. However, swimmers were again taken to the water at Little Bay on Saturday. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the shark has not been captured.
Nellist’s friend Della Ross told the Australian broadcaster 7News: “Everything that is connected to Simon, to me, is connected to the ocean. The news hit us like a truck because he is really one of the people that makes this earth better.”