Police reveal fight for Mani’s life after shark attack
COFFS/CLARENCE Police Chief Inspector Joanne Reid has praised fellow surfers for their heroic efforts after a fatal shark attack off Wilson's Headland on Saturday afternoon.
15-year-old Minnie Water resident Mani Hart-Deville joined a group of surfers at around 2pm on Saturday before the attack soon afterwards.
"It was a tragic accident this afternoon at the beachside village," Reid said on Saturday night.
"Shortly after 2pm, emergency services received a notification that a male had been attacked by a shark in the surf off Wilson's Headland. The male was brought to shore. There were a number of other surfers in the water at the time with him. Despite their heroic attempts to revive him, he passed away at around 3pm this afternoon."
Chief Insp. Reid thanked the emergency services for their response, but made a special mention of the surfers' efforts to aid one of their own.
"You hate to see these sort of jobs but I do want to make a special mention of the surfers that were out there with him," Reid said.
"Not only did they fight hard to get the shark away from him, but they've dragged him in to shore and worked hard for an hour to try and save his life. They did everything possible up to and including when ambulance personnel arrived."
Mani's family were 'inconsolable' after the incident, but Reid hoped they could find some sort of comfort in the incredible efforts from those around him.
"That young man didn't die alone on the beach. He was surrounded by friends, family and members of the surfing community. If the family can take anything from it, I hope that they can find some peace in knowing that," Reid said.
"The other surfers went to his aid and put their own lives at risk to try and save him and get him into shore. There's information from witnesses that the shark tried to come back for a second time, which again, shows how perilous and dangerous the situation was and highlights the bravery of the people in the surf that tried to save his life.
"He was with a group of friends around a similar age but there was a second group that were down visiting as well. Surfers tend to band together and they were all out enjoying some time in the water. The two groups were there but when it came to looking after this young man, they were all together."
Reid said they are doing all they can to provide support for Mani's family during this unprecedented time.
"It's devastating. There's no rhyme or reason to it. You just can't explain why these things happen," she said.
"We're trying to support the family as best we can. They're getting some family coming down to look after them from elsewhere in the state."
Mani was a Year 10 student at South Grafton High.
Reid said the police were working with other departments in the area to offer assistance to anyone else struggling after the tragic event.
"He was a young man at school here in Grafton with his future ahead of him and it's just been tragically cut short by a terrible, terrible shark attack," Reid said.
"Being a small community in the Clarence Valley, we've got those support measures in place. We've been in contact with the Department of Education land we've engaged our police chaplaincy services as well as other local support groups around town.
"We'll look to provide assistance to anyone who needs it. At 15 years of age it's going to be difficult for a lot of friends and young people in the area so we want to wrap our arms around them and hold the community."