'Heroic' surfers fought off Great White
Two surfers are being hailed "heroes" after they attempted to fight off a huge shark that attacked a man off the coast of the NSW northern rivers region this morning.
The 60-year-old Queensland man was dragged ashore by the two men at Salt Beach near Kingscliff just after 10am, but died from his injuries.
"A shark biologist has assessed photographs and confirmed a white shark was responsible for the fatal attack," the NSW Department of Primary Industries said in a statement.
The man received a bite to the back of his thigh and was brought to the shore by other surfers who had fought off the shark, Surf Life Saving NSW said in a statement.
The victim, from Tugun just over the Queensland border, received first aid on the shore but died on the beach.
"The actions of those people was nothing short of heroic in making every attempt to try to save this gentleman," NSW Police's Duty Officer Matt Kehoe told 9News.
One of the men is understood to have been a friend of the man, the other a stranger.
Witnesses at the scene estimated the size of the animal at three metres long.
NSW Ambulance Inspector Terence Savage said it was a "dreadful" situation for everyone involved.
"When you get a call to attend a shark attack, you never really know the full extent of the damage until you get on scene," he said in a statement on Sunday.
"They did everything they could to try and save his life, but despite their best efforts, were unable to do so."
There is a shark listening station opposite the Kingscliff surf club but "no tagged sharks were detected on this station today" or at the Byron Bay listening station some 50 kilometres south, the DPI said on Sunday.
Beaches between Kingscliff and Cabarita have been cleared of swimmers and surfers by Marine Area Command officers and local surf lifesavers and will remain closed for the next 24 hours.
A Westpac rescue helicopter is tracking the shark's movements as the Department of Primary Industries works to determine the animal's species.
Police will be working with the Department of Primary Industry to investigate the circumstances surrounding the man's death.
Authorities have been granted permission to catch or kill the animal if it is located.
There have now been three fatal shark attacks in Australia in 2020.
© AAP 2020