The ‘heartbroken’ family of a bodyboarder killed by a shark in Western Australia’s north has spoken about how much they will miss him.
Charles Cernobori, 59, was attacked on Sunday morning when he was bodyboarding about 30m from the shore in Broome.
The father-of-three worked at the Mangrove Hotel and was a grandfather of four in South Australia, although he reportedly did not know his grandchildren.
His family issued a statement to 9 News, saying: “We miss you so much and cherish the memories of the time we spent with you. Love always, your girls.”
Mr Cernobori’s partner Sandra Howard paid tribute to him on social media.
“This is with a heavy heart that I do this. I would like to let my family and friends on Facebook (know) that my darling Charlie was taken from me today,” she wrote.
“My heart is broken and I hurt so much. Love you always, Charlie.”
Sue Stephens described Mr Cernobori and Ms Howard as a “couple made for each other”.
“Will remember all the great times we had in Tennant Creek. Chuckie was a great man and you will miss him dearly. Love to you at this very sad time,” she wrote.
Emergency crews were called to the beach just before 9am on Sunday and CPR was carried out, but Mr Cernobori could not be saved.
A couple who saw “thrashing” in the water had gone over to help Mr Cernobori, with a man pulling him out of the water while his wife called an ambulance, WA Police Inspector Gene Pears said.
“I commend them for their actions. Obviously, that would have been pretty horrific for those people,” Inspector Pears said.
“It was very brave to enter the water and do what they did.”
DNA sampling will confirm the species, but it is believed to be a tiger shark.
Police legally shot at the animal, which remained in the area after the horror attack for about 30 minutes, but it is believed the shark was unharmed.
Beaches from Dampier Creek to Coconut Wells reopened on Monday morning.
Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley travelled to Broome on Monday and said he wanted to stand with the community.
“This is a shocking and tragic incident, and really nobody has it in the realms of possible occurrence here in Broome,” he told reporters.
Mr Tinley said crocodiles and poisonous jellyfish were usually the types of animal encounters in Broome.
“The shark risk prior to yesterday … would have been very, very low,” he said.
“The last recorded attack was nearly 30 years ago, so again that brings its own sort of surprise and shock factor to it.”
Mr Tinley said land-based patrols were continuing but water visibility was not good.
He conceded it was very unlikely that they would find the shark.
Broome has not had a fatal shark attack since 1993 when a pearl diver was killed at Roebuck Bay.
Cable Beach, which stretches 22km, is one of WA’s most popular tourist destinations where people can ride camels and watch spectacular sunsets.
The shark attack happened during the “off-season” and surf lifesavers finished their patrols at the beach last week.