A HUMAN leg found washed up on a beach has been identified as belonging to an experienced free diver who went missing hundreds of miles away
Andrew Page, 38, failed to surface while he was with friends off the coast off Elliott Heads near Bundaberg, Queensland and police say he may have been eaten by sharks.
Mr Page's friends called the authorities and emergency services spent days looking him but the search was called off on November 29.
Marine police and volunteer marine rescue in Queensland extended their search as far as 350 miles before scaling it back.
More than three weeks later — and 460miles south of Elliott Heads — a human leg with a dive boot still attached to it washed onto North Beach at Mylestom, just south of Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales north coast.
Police in NSW kicked off their own investigation on December 17 with forensic analysis last night confirming the leg belonged to Mr Page.
Officers close to the investigation say the most likely scenario is that a swimmer, surfer or diver has died as a result of a shark attack, 9News reports.
Mr Page's parents Robert and Colleen spoke about their son after emergency services were forced to call the search off late last month.
"We can't be certain what has happened to Drew," they said.
"We believe he may have got tangled in the line after spearing a big fish and was dragged.
"There was no sign of injury or struggle in the water.
"An experienced free-diver and spear fisherman, Drew's heart belonged to the ocean. He used to say his gills were drying up whenever he was away from the water for too long.
"We take small comfort in knowing that he will never have to feel that again."
Mr Page was taught to dive by his father from the age of eight and had spent his life travelling Australia's east coast and the world.
"Drew had an inspiring love of life and contagious excitement for adventure. He was well known for his kind-heartedness and bubbly personality," the parents said.
- A version of this story appeared in news.com.au.