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Family of teacher Simon Baccanello feared dead in Elliston shark attack break silence


Family of missing teacher feared dead in shark attack mourns ‘tragic loss’ – as search for his remains continues

  • Popular school teacher feared dead
  • Simon Baccanello, 46, attacked by shark
  • Statement from the family with a broken heart

The family of the beloved schoolteacher who was feared dead in a shark attack has broken their silence.

Simon Baccanello, 46, went missing Saturday morning after reports he was attacked by a shark while surfing at Walkers Rock on the west coast of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

The search for the local teacher, who began work at Elliston Area School in January, resumed this morning at first light.

Elliston Area School teacher Simon Baccanello is feared dead after a shark attack

The beloved teacher was surfing near Elliston on South Australia's west coast (pictured)

The beloved teacher was surfing near Elliston on South Australia’s west coast (pictured)

In a statement, Mr Baccanello’s family said they were ‘grateful for the support of the Elliston community, family and friends’.

“The family is grateful for the support of the Elliston community, family and friends, and appreciates their privacy as they process this tragic loss,” Mr. Baccanello’s family said.

Baccanello was surfing at the popular local beach around 10am on Saturday morning when he was attacked.

A teenage boy, 13, was among those in the water who witnessed the horrific attack.

Jaiden Millar, 22, was in the water when the teacher was attacked.

“It was such a confrontational incident. There were 15 or 20 people today. “It could have been anyone,” Mr. Millar said The advertiser.

He saw the teacher’s surfboard become ‘tombstones’ about 500 meters offshore, which is when the surfer is pulled deep down and their board stands upright in the water like a tombstone.

‘He was gone. (We) just saw the shark scurrying around in the back. The shark obviously let go and came back to get it a third time,’ Mr Millar said.

Mr. Baccanello taught math, science, and health and physical education and had quickly become a much loved and respected member of the community since moving to Elliston.

“He’s just been a good teacher to the kids,” a shocked resident told the newspaper.

“In a small town like this, it affects everyone.”

Another resident who laid flowers on site on Sunday morning said “he was doing what he loved.”

Heartbroken friends have taken to social media to pay tribute to Mr Baccanello.

“RIP my brother, taken way too soon and one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met,” a friend posted.

One woman added: “He was one of a kind and a heart of gold.”

South Australia Police confirmed the search was ongoing, involving members of the community and the SES.

Superintendent Paul Bahr, Eyre and Western Local Service Area Officer in Charge, thanked the local community for their assistance during the search.

“It’s not easy when it’s a local stakeholder, but we commend their strength and their will to help,” said Chief Inspector Bahr.

“We will continue to search using local emergency services and other resources.”

Elliston is located approximately 400 miles from Adelaide and is a popular destination for tourists for its pristine beaches.

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