Shark confirmed killer

The WA coroner has ruled a great white shark killed 24-year-old surfer Ben Linden near Wedge Island.
The WA coroner has ruled a great white shark killed 24-year-old surfer Ben Linden near Wedge Island.

On July 15, 2012, Ben Linden and a friend travelled to a beach near the island, about 160km north of Perth, to surf.

The pair, dressed in full black wetsuits, surfed for about half an hour at a place known as Didie Bay, before moving about 100m north to a better position with two other men, who were using a jet ski to tow each other out from shore on their surfboards.

About 20 minutes later, Mr Linden’s friend saw a shark on the ocean floor.

The shark circled below and then surfaced on the right, close enough for one of the men to feel the spray from its gills.

The shark reportedly circled the friend before turning and heading straight for Mr Linden, who was paddling to shore.

Mr Linden knelt on his surfboard and raised his right leg out of the water in an attempt to kick at the shark, but it attacked.

One of the other men on the jet ski witnessed the attack

He told the court the shark was about 5.5 metres long because it was almost twice as long as his 3.3m jet ski.

The man drove the jet ski over and tried to pull Mr Linden onto it but the shark moved between them and swam away with Mr Linden’s body.

A land, sea and air search was conducted to search for evidence of the shark attack but nothing was found.

Mr Linden’s body was never recovered.

Coroner Barry King established Mr Linden’s cause of death was ‘misadventure’.

‘On the information available to me, I am satisfied that the deceased died as a result of injuries sustained from an attack by a white shark while he was surfing in the Indian Ocean near Wedge Island,’ he said.

Mr King commended the man on the jet ski for his brave and unselfish actions while trying to save Mr Linden.

Department of Fisheries senior research scientist Rory McAuley examined a bite mark on Mr Linden’s surfboard and concluded it was made by a great white shark, which was likely to have been 3.5m to 4m long.