‘Died doing his hobby:’ Brother mourns shark attack victim
The man who watched his younger brother die in his arms after he was bitten by a shark off Fraser Island urged the spearfishing community not to fear the water despite the tragic attack.
Rob Tratt, 39, said his brother Matthew died doing what he loved, saying the pair took a calculated risk when a dream dive took a dark turn.
"We knew the risks, we both knew the risks," he said.
"What I would like to say to the spearfishing community is don't pull your spears out of the water, get in there and keep harvesting the fish."
Matthew and Rob were spearfishing off Indian Head at Fraser Island when the attack happened about 2pm on Saturday.
Rob dragged his brother on to nearby rocks in a desperate bid to save his life.
But to no avail.
He died from his wounds - on his daughter Sienna's 10th birthday.
Rob said his brother was extremely calm and collected during his final moments.
"I just know he would have wanted to tell his family he loved them," he said.
It was still too raw for Rob to share the details of the attack.
Instead he said his brother died surrounded by whales and turtles at the same spot where he scored a 28kg mackerel five years ago.
One of the last photos of Matthew show him holding the first ever queen fish he caught during his Fraser Island trip.
"We were able to go out there and put food on the table and that's what he did the day before he died," Rob said.
"We were eating some deep fried panko-crumb fish that we filleted that day. It was the first queen fish he'd ever caught. It was a pretty special time.
"That's what he really enjoyed, that's what he loved doing and he died doing his hobby and his passion."
Rob who lives in Annerley, Brisbane, said he would be forever grateful for being able to spend the final few hours with his younger brother, having formed a close bond with him during the past two years.
"I was just glad I was able to be there with him. We had a great time," he said.
"I did everything I could, there's nothing I would change that happened in the water that day."
Rob said there was no better place than Fraser Island for his brother to pass away.
"There was whales in the water, there was turtles in the water. It was a magnificent sight, if he wanted to go out a way, that was the way he would have wanted to go," he said.
"It was just a bit too soon.
"You could die in a car crash on the way to work, what a horrible place to die. Or you could die in the ocean doing what you loved with your family and friends."
Matthew, an airconditioning contractor from Buderim, leaves behind his wife Kayla, and two children Sienna and Taj.
Rob said his brother had a huge impact on the local community, loved nothing more than helping others and lived life to the fullest.
"He's done more things in his 36 years of life than most people would do in a full life. He's travelled the country, he's been shooting, he's been spearfishing and he was just a great man," he said.
"There will be a huge hole to fill, as a lot of people lean pretty hard on him.
"He would want to be remembered as a good father, a good brother and a fantastic spearo."