Locals have been left looking for answers after the traumatic and horrific death of 17-year-old Laeticia Brouwer off the Esperance coastline on Easter Monday.
The teen surfer, who sadly died after a shark attack at Kelp Beds along Wylie Bay Beach, ‘died doing what she loved’ according to her family. Choking back tears on Tuesday, Laeticia’s uncle Steve Evans read a statement on behalf of her family, honouring the teen and thanking local emergency services.
“We are terribly heartbroken and saddened by this tragic accident,” Mr Evans said.
"We can take comfort that Laeticia died doing something that she loved. The ocean was her and her family's passion. Surfing was something she treasured doing with her Dad and her sisters. Laeticia will be greatly missed by her family, friends and everyone that knew her. We can take comfort that she is now in Heaven with the Lord in eternal peace."
St John Ambluance community paramedic Paul Gaughan received the distressing call around 4pm on Monday, and arrived on the scene at 4:19pm.
He recalled the harrowing final moments on Tuesday. Under grey skies, Laeticia was surfing with her father when she was dragged under by a shark.
Bleeding significantly, her father dragged her to the beach where her mother and two sisters were hopelessly watching the horror unfold.
An off-duty nurse was one of the first on the scene and applied first aid on the beach in a desperate attempt to save her life.
Mr Gaughan said the teen’s injuries were too severe for her to survive. “We were working against really difficult circumstances. The people on the scene did everything possible to effect a good outcome. It really gave the young girl every possible chance under such dire circumstances,” Mr Gaughan said.
Department of Fisheries regional manager Russell Adams said sightings were common on WA’s south coast and the region was not considered more dangerous than others.
The community is invited to the memorial paddle out on Sunday at 5pm.
It will be held at the Whale Tail on the foreshore and people are encouraged to wear Laeticia’s favourite colour turquoise.
There is a Go Fund Me page for the family and people can donate by visiting gofundme.com/laeticia-brouwer-memorial-fund.