Search for WA shark victim called off

The search for a man bitten by a shark off WA's south coast has been called off after three days.
The search for a man bitten by a shark off WA's south coast has been called off after three days.

The search for the victim of a shark attack off Western Australia's south coast has been called off after three days, with the blessing of his heartbroken family.

Local surfer Andrew Sharpe was bitten by a shark at Kelp Beds Beach near Esperance on Friday morning.

Fellow surfers paddled out to try to save him, according to reports, while witnesses have described the attack and seeing blood in the water.

Another surfer tried to pull him from the water but was unable to do so, WA Premier Mark McGowan said on Friday.

The man's surfboard and pieces of wetsuit have been recovered, but searchers including police divers, surf life savers, the State Emergency Service and an underwater vehicle team have been unable to locate Mr Sharpe.

Authorities previously said they had lost hope of finding him alive, and on Sunday afternoon suspended the search for his body, unless new information came to light.

WA's south coast, particularly around Esperance, is a known breeding ground for great white sharks and home to large seal colonies.

Kelp Beds Beach was the site of a deadly shark mauling in 2017 when 17-year-old surfer Laeticia Brouwer was killed.

The government had taken extra safety measures to protect swimmers and surfers including helicopter patrols, monitoring stations and subsidised shark shields, Mr McGowan said.

But there was always an element of risk when entering the water.

Australian Associated Press