21-year-old footballer Eric Birighitti, from Perth, had been on holiday with his friends in Western Australia. The young sportsman fell off a cliff and into the ocean. While his friends tried to rescue him, the current swept him out. Nearly a week after the incident, emergency crew searching for the body of a shark attack victim ended up discovering Birighitti's shark-eaten remains instead. The search for diver Gary Johnson's body has been called off.
Birighitti and his friends were at the Twilight Beach in Esperance, Western Australia on January 2. While enjoying the view of the ocean, Birighitti stumbled and fell off the rocks into the ocean below. His friends tried to rescue him but before they could get to him, Birighitti was swept out to the ocean by strong currents. Even though a life preserver was thrown at Birighitti, the swells took him too far for him to swim back.
Multiple search and rescue teams combed the area off the Twilight Beach for days.
On January 5, Johnson was attacked by a great white shark while his distraught wife witnessed the incident near Cull Island off the Esperance coast. The shocked woman sent out a distress call, resulting in the search for the 57-year-old diving expert's body.
The emergency crew found a body on January 7 at Twilight Beach, which they initially thought to be Johnson's. The body had been partially eaten by sharks. It was later discovered that the body belonged to Birighitti. The search for Johnson only led to the discovery of his flippers, vest, and tank. Emergency crews called off the search for Johnson, as the mourning family and friends paid their respects at his funeral.
Friends and family of the promising athlete also paid tribute to him. The Sydney Herald reported that Hastings College in Nebraska, where Birighitti played football and studied on scholarship, expressed their grief at the young man's demise.