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Heartbroken family recalls tragic shark attack on 15-year-old surfer: ‘Magical’ moments turned to grief



Grieving family shares memories of Khai Cowley, launches GoFundMe to cover funeral costs

The devastated family of 15-year-old surfer Khai Cowley, who lost his life in a tragic shark attack, has opened up about the heartbreaking events that unfolded during what should have been a joyful day of surfing with family members at Ethel Beach in the Innes National Park, Australia.

Khai, a talented surfer, fell victim to a white pointer (great white shark) on December 28, which attacked him and tragically bit off his leg. Eyewitnesses described the horrifying scene, recounting the valiant efforts of a local man named Tim, who risked his life to rescue Khai. Despite the rescue attempt, the injuries proved fatal.

Speaking to Australia’s Nine News, Khai’s grandfather, Peter Barley, expressed the overwhelming pain the family is experiencing. He shared the special bond between Khai and his uncle Adam, describing their time together in the water as “magical.”

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“The guy that tried to save him, his name was Tim, he risked his life, knowing he had children, to save Khai, to make sure his body didn’t get washed out to sea,” Peter Barley said.

Reflecting on Khai’s love for surfing, Peter added, “Even if Khai would have survived this, he would have still kept surfing, that was the nature of Khai. I keep thinking at any minute he’s just going to keep walking through the front door. Because there is so much love coming his way, it sort of negates the tragedy because of the beauty of his soul.”

Khai’s uncle, Adam Barley, emphasized Khai’s zest for life and the profound impact of the tragedy. “He really did make the most of life, he didn’t waste a second,” Adam shared.

In response to the tragic incident, the family has set up a GoFundMe page to cover funeral expenses. The initial goal of AUS$7,500 has been surpassed, with over $80,000 raised from nearly 1,500 donations.

The GoFundMe message, posted by Khai’s aunt Lauryn, reads: “Hi, my name is Lauryn, Aunty to our beloved Khai, who was suddenly taken from us by a white pointer while surfing at Ethel Wreck off the coast of Yorke Peninsula. I’m here to try to help raise funds for my sister, Kate, and brother, Tim, to cover the cost of the funeral service. Any donations will be most appreciated.”


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