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Zachary Robba, who had a 'dream job' working for the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, had been with other rangers undertaking research and essential maintenance on North West Island.
According to CBS, Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters: "Once again a family out there is grieving for a young man who tragically has lost his life in this horrific shark attack."
Police said Robba had been returning to a vessel when he was attacked in the water, suffering extensive injuries to his leg and arm. He later died in hospital.
Detective Senior Sergeant Tony Anderson said Robba had been the last person out of the water after doing the maintenance work.
He told media: "At the end of the day there were four people swimming off the back of a boat, cooling down after a day's work."
Father Michael Twigg, the rector of Robba's former school, Iona College, paid tribute to the late 23-year-old in a Facebook post on the Iona College Old Boys' Association.
The post said: "It is with great sadness, we share the news of the passing of Iona Old Boy Zachary (Zach) Robba (Class of 2014).
"Zach, a Queensland Park and Wildlife ranger was the victim of a shark attack yesterday afternoon, while working in water on the southern Barrier Reef. The group of rangers were undertaking research and essential maintenance on North West Island.
"This was Zach's dream job and he embraced all that it entailed.
"Zach's family, (Max - Class of 2019), Sheree (mum), Peter (dad) and Tanika (sister) are aware of our support through our communication with them and are appreciative of your love and care."
It continued: "At this difficult time, we keep all Ionians in our prayers who are affected by this very sad loss.
"Every one of us has a Zach shaped hole in our heart. And each shape is unique."
Twigg also asked people to show their support 'safely' and to honour social distancing measures.
"Our faith asks us to believe that death is a comma, not a full stop," he added.
"Zach joins our Old Boy Ionians in eternal life."
According to CBS, there have been at least three shark attacks on the Great Barrier Reef over the past 18 months.
Last October, two British backpackers were attacked while snorkeling in the Whitsunday Islands - one of whom lost his foot.
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Iona College Old Boys' Association
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