Emergency Response

Father-Daughter Surf Outing Ends in Tears After Fatal Shark Attack


The Brouwers believed that Monday would be one of their happiest father-daughter surf outings—until a tragedy proved them wrong.

Father-Daughter Surf Outing Turns Tragic

On Easter Monday, April 17, Leon and Laeticia Brouwer went out for a surf off the Esperance coast in Western Australia. But at around 4:00 p.m., as the unsuspecting 17-year-old Laeticia was waiting to catch a wave, a shark pulled the teen under and mauled her. She was with her mom and two sisters that day, all of whom watched from the shore.

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Father-Daughter Surf

Leon was in the water with his daughter at the time of the attack, the police confirmed. Witnessing the tragedy unfold, the quick-witted father went toward his child and did everything he could to save his daughter. He brought her back to the beach, but Laeticia had already suffered fatal injuries and was in a critical condition. She later died at the hospital.

When asked about what happened, Laeticia’s uncle said, “We are terribly heartbroken and saddened by this tragic accident. We take comfort in the fact that Laeticia died doing something that she loved—the ocean was her and her family’s passion. Surfing was something that she treasured doing with her dad and sisters. Laeticia will be greatly missed by her friends, family, and everyone that knew her.”

In the week before the incident, two great white shark sightings were noted by a local shark-watch site. Considering this information, it did not come as a surprise when authorities revealed that the attack that stained the father-daughter surf outing wasn’t the first one recorded in the Esperance area. In 2014, a surfer lost his left arm and right hand in another tragic attack on the same beach. In 2016 alone, two fatal shark attacks were reported in Western Australia.

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