Shark attack tragedy: ‘We wish it was a bad dream’
Duncan Craw would have turned 33 on Saturday.
To celebrate, Mr Craw, wife Taylia and son Levi, left Warrnambool in country Victoria for a camping trip to South Australia.
The keen snorkeller decided to stop at Port MacDonnell, about 27km south of Mount Gambier, to indulge his passion.
But a beautiful day out with his family turned to tragedy on Thursday evening, when Mr Craw suddenly disappeared in the water.
His wife raised the alarm just before 5pm. About three hours later, crews found a significantly damaged wetsuit and snorkelling equipment.
Police on Friday revealed they believed Mr Craw was the victim of a shark attack, leaving his family and friends devastated.
His family released a statement describing the beloved father as a cheerful, loving, helpful son, a kind and cheeky brother and a fun-loving, mischievous and supportive mate with a heart of gold.
"It's impossible to adequately describe our grief and shock," they said. "We wish this was all a bad dream.
"It's also impossible to fully explain the hole this will leave behind in the lives of all the relatives and friends who love Duncan.
"Duncan loved snorkelling and accepted the dangers he may face in the ocean. He was extremely unlucky this time."
Mr Craw's family described him as a hard-working and dedicated agriculture contracting company operations manager at Warrnambool, where he grew up after relocating from New Zealand at a young age.
"When he wasn't farming, spending time with the family, or working around the property he bought with his wife Taylia, he liked catching up with friends and watching or playing sport including cricket for Woolsthorpe Cricket Club," his family said.
"He was also the best father to Levi and a beautiful husband and best friend to Tay, his high-school sweetheart. He was a cheerful, loving, helpful son.
"He was a kind and cheeky brother to his sisters. He was a fun-loving, mischievous and supportive mate who had a heart of gold.
"We will never forget Duncan and we will make sure his memory lives on."
Mr Craw's family thanked the community for its support, search and rescue crews and "selfless volunteers for their tireless efforts and for the care shown by everyone who has offered their help during this awful time".
Limestone Coast Police operations manager Campbell Hill said the wetsuit and fins were found after a large shark was seen in the same area and a second smaller one later on Thursday evening.
Mr Craw's family described the shark as a great white. "We are definitely aware that there were sharks identified in the area," Inspector Hill said.
Labor MLC and Port MacDonnell resident Clare Scriven said the close-knit community had been rocked.
Originally published as Shark tragedy: 'We wish it was a bad dream'