Torn wetsuit pieces found after missing surfer ‘flung into the air’ by shark

Torn pieces of wetsuit have been found where a surfer was last seen being 'flung into the air' by a shark.

Dad-of-two Andrew Sharpe has been missing since Friday morning when he was surfing at Kelp Beds in Wylie Bay, on Western Australia's south coast.

Only his surfboard with bite marks on it and now pieces of wetsuit have washed up since.

Police investigating his disappearance have admitted they no longer expect to find him alive.

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Senior Sergeant Justin Tarasinski said: "We don't hold any ongoing hope unfortunately for Mr Sharpe's survival.

"We'll continue on for as long as we possibly can… and that's about trying to bring some closure to Mr Sharpe's family."

Bad weather led to a search party for Andrew being called off at 2pm on Saturday but it is expected to resume on Sunday.

Police will need to carry out DNA tests to work out whether the two pieces of a wetsuit found in the same area as the surfer's disappearance, belong to him.

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One of the eight witnesses to the attack told the West Australian a shark threw Andrew off his board before dragging him down into the water.

Sergeant Tarasinski said search teams were deployed on the water from 8.30am on Saturday in a desperate attempt to recover the body.

He said: "The dive team were conducting their searches from the back of the Surf Life Saving jet skis as opposed to diving in the water and that's due to the risk.

"We'll continue on for as long as we possibly can with the resources that we have.

"They're desperate to bring closure to Mr Sharpe's family.

"The chances of survival are obviously pretty slim considering some of the accounts that have been provided to us.

"There were a number of other surfers in the waters and some of them did paddle to try and render some assistance but unfortunately they were not in a position to do so."

Pals of the 'much loved' surfer joined police in their efforts to recover Andrew who was surfing with a group of mates before the attack, 7NEWS reported.

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WA Premier Mark McGowan said the area Andrew disappeared from is a known breeding ground for great white sharks and home to large seal colonies.

He added that the government had taken extra safety measures to protect swimmers and surfers, including helicopter patrols, monitoring stations and subsidised shark shields.

Chairman of the Esperance Ocean Safety and Support Group, Mitchell Capelli, said he was left shaking after hearing of the attack on Mr Sharpe.

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Capelli told The West Australian : "We're devastated — he was a local legend.

"Plain and simple the balance of nature is out of whack.

"We're dealing with something that didn't just take one bite, it bumped him, bit him and took him down. It shouldn't be in the ocean anymore."

A united force of six different organisations have assisted with the rescue operation, including Esperance Police, Surf Life Saving WA and Marine Rescue Esperance.

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