Heroic effort failed to save mate from shark

BROCK Curtis doesn't think of himself as a hero. But after diving bravely into bloodied water in an attempt to save his mate Peter Edmonds from a vicious shark attack yesterday, that is exactly what the 16-year-old is being hailed as. "I just wanted to get him in," Brock said yesterday. "I didn't really think, I just wanted him to be okay." Ballina police said Brock would be considered for a bravery medal. Detective Inspector Steve Clark said Brock's actions were "exceptional". He said Brock went to his mate's help despite seeing the shark in the water nearby. The pair were bodyboarding off Ballina's Lighthouse Beach yesterday morning when the shark struck, fatally mauling the 16-year-old boy from Wollongbar, west of Ballina. It is believed the teenagers had taken advantage of a teachers' stop-work meeting at their high school when the attack occurred. "At that time one of them has left the water and gone to the shore, at which point he has looked back and seen his friend in distress," Insp Clark said. "He has re-entered the water and started paddling out to his friend." As he paddled out, the boy saw a "large, dark shadow" moving away from his friend, police said. "Despite seeing that, he's still gone to his friend, retrieved him, brought him back to the shore and attempted to revive him," Insp Clark said. Brock dragged Peter, who had been bitten twice on the leg by the shark and was bleeding badly, onto the beach before calling triple-0 and performing CPR. He then ran to the nearby Coastguard tower for help. Unfortunately, Peter's injuries were so bad he died from a loss of blood at the scene. Brock was taken to Ballina Hospital suffering shock but allowed to go home two hours later. "There was an extremely high-degree of bravery involved in the young man re-entering the water to retrieve his friend," Insp Clark said. "We will pursue that avenue (a bravery medal) and making sure he's adequately recognised. "The young man is very traumatised and NSW Police has offered counselling and support." Brock's mum, Victoria Mathew, said her son did not feel like a hero, but she could not have been more proud of him. "He did what he could to try to save his friend," Ms Mathew said. "We are so proud of him, he was so brave. We're just so sad about Pete, he was an incredible kid." All beaches in the Ballina region have been closed following the attack and will be re-opened when Surf Life Saving Australia, local council and Department of Primary Industries officials consider it safe. The most recent fatal shark attack on the Far North Coast was at Byron Bay in 1993.



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