Shark attack that killed Brit last year officially classified as ‘provoked incident’
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The death of a British man who was killed by a great white shark has been officially classified as a 'provoked incident'.
Simon Nellist was swimming off the coast of Australia last year when a 4.5-metre shark attacked him. Sadly, the 35-year-old, originally from Cornwall, died as a result of his injuries.
The International Shark Attack File documents all incidents around the world, classifying them based on their specific circumstances.
According to the report, Mr Nellist's death was determined to have been the result of a 'provoked incident'.
Gavin Naylor, the director for the Florida Programme for Shark Research, explained that there were several reasons why an incident may be classified as 'provoked'.
And while at first glance it may not appear to make sense with regards to the diving instructor's death, he said that the shark was most likely drawn to the area by something.
Mr Naylor told the YouTube channel Shark Bytes: "The Simon Nellist incident is not included in the stats [for unprovoked attacks] because we do not consider it an unprovoked incident.
"While Mr Nellist did nothing consciously to provoke an incident, he was swimming in an area where people were fishing.
"Fishing is an activity that draws sharks in. We therefore consider it provoked for our purposes.
"We are assiduous about focussing on unprovoked bites because we want to understand the natural behaviours of the animals.
"Any factor that draws sharks to an area (fishing, chumming, scalloping, etc.) or behaviour that goad the shark, riding them, petting them, feeding them (you might be surprised what people do!) are thought to induce behaviours that are not 'typical'."
Following Mr Nellist's death, his family said they were devastated by the loss.
His aunt, Jackie Seager, said he was about to get married to his partner, Jessie.
“He told his mum he was going to travel to Australia and that was that," she said. "He loved it so much that he stayed.
“He met his girlfriend Jessie out there. They're around the same age and instantly hit it off. They've been together for years.
“She is totally in bits, as are his parents. I spoke to them last night and they are beyond belief.
“They will never get through this – ever – as this is something you keep with you for life. I just feel so sorry for them.
“They are planning to get out there as soon as they can but need to sort visas out.
“Everyone was going to fly out there to see him get married in June or July, but sadly it is now in much sadder circumstances."