The search for a man who went missing after a reported shark attack in Australia has been called off, police said on Sunday.
Paul Millachip, 57, was swimming at Port Beach in North Fremantle, a suburb in the state of Western Australia’s capital city Perth, when he was believed to have been attacked by a shark Saturday morning, police said. Police and surf rescue helicopters as well as water police and surf lifesaving personnel responded to reports of a “serious shark bite incident” at around 10 a.m local time.
Rescue and recovery efforts were called off Sunday afternoon, after an extensive two-day search, acting Inspector of the Fremantle District Office, Troy Douglas, told reporters during a news conference.
He said that a pair of goggles, believed to be Millachip’s, were found at the scene of the attack.
“A decision was made to suspend the search at 4 p.m,” Douglas said.
Millachip’s wife, who asked not to be named by reporters, described him as a “lovely man and great father” who loved exercising.
“He died what he enjoyed doing the most,” she said.
CNN affiliate 9News said the attack was witnessed by a group of teenage boys who tried to help the victim, then warned other swimmers to get out of the water.
Millachip’s wife thanked the boys for their actions.
“Special mention to those young lads in the boat for what they did, in what must have been an absolutely terrifying experience for them,” she said. “My heart goes out to them.”
Millachip and his wife would visit the beach two to three times a week, she said. He was an avid swimmer, cyclist and runner, who completed six Iron Man competitions.
There was another shark attack off an Australian beach in September this year which resulted in the death of a man in his 20s.
Australia ranked behind only the United States in the number of unprovoked shark encounters with humans in 2019, according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File, Reuters said.