Swimmers made their own call on safety and returned to the water at Brighton today before the all-clear after a shark was sighted in the enclosed swimming area late yesterday.
The beach officially reopened at 1.15pm after divers replaced the damaged nets and dragged the swimming enclosure twice to ensure the shark had gone.
But hours before it reopened, swimmers, windsurfers and jet-skiers were enjoying the wider waters of Botany Bay.
Long before the divers finished their inspection, people were swimming at the beach further along from the netted swim enclosure – unconcerned by the shark scare.
“It was mainly adults in the water while the kids played on the edge,” one witness said.
The alarm was sounded late yesterday afternoon when the shark, believed to be a two-metre bull shark, was seen swimming in the enclosure.
Nick Webb was on the beach last night when swimmers spotted a shark lurking close to shore and started filming.
‘‘It was about quarter-past six in the evening with a lot of kids and families in the water - everyone was quick to jump out,’’ he told 7News
‘‘I was just down on the shore with my family and I noticed a bit of commotion and people coming out of the water gathering on the shore.
“People started running up and down outside of the nets getting the other swimmers out of the water.
‘‘Obviously there are a lot of sharks out in Botany Bay but its pretty unusual sighting one inside the swimming nets.
‘‘A lot of people couldn’t believe what they were seeing.”
The shark has not been seen since. This morning divers inspected the nets and found a breakage at the southern end of the enclosure.
The damaged nets have been replaced and the enclosure is now open to swimmers.
“As soon as it reo-pened people moved quickly and were swimming in the enclosure,” a council spokeswoman said.
“The nets have been taken away and the inspectors will be some forensic work to see what caused the damage.”
Department of Fisheries staff were also called to the beach this morning and will be assisting with inquiries.
The nets were installed only recently and are inspected every month by council contractors. Divers, council staff and the Department of Fisheries will be examining them closely to see what caused the breakage.
They need to determine whether it was a fault in the net, vandalism or whether the net got caught in a propeller.