Less than 20 hours after losing a large part of his thigh to an underwater apex predator, hospital-bound surfer Brett Connellan asked that his ordeal not be used as cause for a shark hunt.
The Kiama 22-year-old remained in a serious but stable condition at St George Hospital Thursday afternoon.
Addressing media outside the hospital, family friend Wayne Phillips indicated Mr Connellan was conscious, communicating and facing “a long road to recovery”.
“Brett is surrounded by his very close friends and family,” he said.
“Brett has said that he knows the risks and respects surfing. He's been a surfer all his life and he doesn't want this attack to result in a sort of shark hunt."
Beaches across Kiama remained closed on Thursday as lifeguards searched for the creature involved in the attack.
NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries representatives would supervise the search, identify the shark involved in the attack and “taking any action necessary”, said Kiama council general manager Michael Forsyth.
“[The attack] is a real shock to the community,” he said.
“There has been unusually warm water in the week there has been sightings of bait fish which has led to the sharks being attracted too close to shore.
“We’ve just had a report from a [lifeguard on a] jetski that there are still schools of fish.”
According to shark reporting service dorsal.com, a three-metre white shark breached the water at Bombo Beach on March 16, coming within three metres of a surfer when there was a lot of baitfish in the water.
Andy Mole, lifeguard superviser at Kiama council, said Wednesday’s attack served as a warning to surfers and swimmers not to enter the water at certain times.
”If they see a lot of fish activity they should exit the water because more than likely there could be sharks present,” he said.
“We have had Surf Beach closed, two weeks ago because of a shark there.”
Mr Mole said the Department of Primary Industry’s shark-spotting helicopter had flown over the beach on Tuesday.
The attack comes three week’s after the shark-spotting Australian Aerial Patrol was grounded amid financial woes and internal conflict.
But according to the service’s website, its regular patrol season ends at Easter.