Horrific details emerge as shark attack victim identified: 'He was gone'

School teacher Simon Baccanello was surfing at the poplar beach when he was attacked.

Witnesses have described horrific details about the shark attack that's beleived to have claimed the life of a 46-year-old man on Saturday.

The victim has since been identified as 46-year-old school teacher Simon Baccanello who was surfing at Walkers Rocks near Elliston, South Australia when he was mauled by the animal before going missing.

Mr Baccanello was one of many in the water on Saturday morning with one witness claiming there were "15 or 20 people" in the ocean at the time of the 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," 22-year-old Jaiden Millar told Adelaide Now.

Shark attack victim Simon Baccanello with emergency services at Walkers Rocks near Elliston, South Australia.
The victim has been identified as 46-year-old school teacher Simon Baccanello. Source: 9 News

Witnesses recall 'confronting' scenes

Emergency services rushed to the popular beach at about 10.10 am after witnesses reported the incident which occurred an estimated 30 to 50 metres offshore, according to reports. A search commenced for the 46-year-old but he's yet to be found.

Mr Millar said he didn’t realise until after the incident what had happened.

"There was a bloke on the beach tooting his horn and as I turned around I saw everyone paddling in," he said. "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."

Ms Millar yelled to "call an ambulance" but already feared the worst. "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".

Walkers Rocks near Elliston, South Australia.
The 46-year-old was surfing at Walkers Rocks near Elliston, South Australia when he was attacked. Source: Google Images

Teacher's surfboard found in water

Mr Baccanello was a much-loved teacher and part of the community after moving to the area in January. He taught maths, science and health and physical education at Elliston Area School, Nine News reported.

The search for his body will continue on Sunday. On Saturday, police emergency services found the man's surfboard which was still intact with a single bit mark in the centre, Streaky Bay SES unit manager Trevlyn Smith said.

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

"It’s not easy when it’s a local involved but we commend their strength and their want to assist," Superintendent Bahr said. "We will continue to search with the assistance of local emergency services and other resources."

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.