"It's really difficult to estimate how hard it's been for the kids at school…”
The children of a remote school in Elliston, South Australia, have been “hit hard” by news that a second teacher has been attacked and severely injured by a Great White shark.
Adams had been surfing Blacks, the archetypal South Australian slab. Swells swinging onto shallow limestone shelf before evaporating in uncomfortably deep water, notorious for Great Whites.
Adams paddled in, climbed the cliff, refused an ambulance and drove himself to hospital, reflecting the chaotic nature of a Great White hit and the difference just a few millimetres can make.
He was the second teacher from the Elliston Area School, right there on the Flinders Highway, to be hit by a Great White while surfing.
Eight months earlier, a teacher at the same school was hit and killed by a Great White shark on a crowded day at Walkers Rocks.
Forty-six-year-old science and sports teacher Simon Baccanello had only moved to the coastal town of one thousand souls and known for its epic waves as well as its dark history of shark attacks in January 2023.
Baccanello bravely warned others to get out of the water as the shark started swimming towards him.
When the Great White appeared, Baccanello told the terrified kids, “Don’t worry, get yourself to shore”.
Jaiden Millar, a twenty two year old, saw the fatal attack.
“It was such a confronting incident. It could have been anyone. The worst part was there was a 13-year-old out there and he witnessed everything,” Millar told Adelaide Now. “There was a bloke on the beach tooting his horn and as I turned around I saw everyone paddling in. I saw his board tombstoning, which means he’s underwater and his board’s getting dragged under … trying to fight his way back up to the surface… He was gone. (We) saw the shark just thrashing around out the back. The shark’s obviously let go and come back and got him for a third time”.
Two weeks ago, fifteen-year-old Khai Cowley was killed after being attacked by a Great White shark while surfing at Ethels on the state’s Yorke Peninsula, three hundred clicks west of Elliston.
He says students of the Elliston Area School were in the water when Simon Baccanello was killed and were “still coming to terms with the death of their teacher, affectionately known as Mr B.”
“It’s really difficult to estimate how hard it’s been for the kids at school to have one of their teachers lost through a shark attack and now another one severely wounded due to another shark attack,” McLeod told ABC.
McLeod knows Great Whites.
“He’d just paddled out and the shark came up from underneath and tried to eat him. He cleared the pointer to get back on the board,” his pal Tyron Swan told ABC. “He was ridiculously lucky; he should definitely not be here. If his legs were down [in the water] he would have been killed, if he had a smaller board he would have been killed, if he was hanging off his board he would have been killed.”