The husband of shark attack victim Christine Armstrong knew something was wrong when a bird swooped him in the water.
Rob Armstrong then spotted a large bronze whaler shark and swam carefully in a tight formation with the rest of his swimming group back to shore at Tathra Beach.
He did not initially fear for the safety of his wife of 44 years at the NSW south coast tourist spot, more concerned about the welfare of a 70-year-old swimming buddy.
“We thought everything was safe and we just hugged each other (on the beach) and then we found that Chris wasn’t in the change rooms,” Rob Armstrong said.
“We immediately got in the IRB (inflatable rescue boat), went out and very shortly we found evidence that Chris was no more.
Mr Armstrong is convinced his wife suffered a quick death at the spot south of Bega.
“She would not hold anything against what happened,” he told reporters.
He wanted to assure friends she died doing something that she loved and he “is certain Chris would not have known what had hit her”.
“The shark was such a size and it’s consumed her basically completely – she wouldn’t have even known it happened.”
Mrs Armstrong’s swimming cap and goggles were located on Thursday evening and police say human remains will undergo forensic testing.
The search, which is focusing on the southern end of Tathra Beach, resumed on Friday morning despite wet weather and grey skies.
“Chris only knew one way in life and that was love, and everyone loved her,” Mr Armstrong said.
Divers from Sydney have arrived to assist the search along with lifesavers from nearby regions.
Patrols of Tathra Beach will start again at about 8am on Saturday, including a helicopter search of nearby beaches.
Tathra Beach will be reopened at 10am on Saturday.
“This decision is supported by the Armstrong family and the Tathra Surf Life Saving community,” police media said.
The Department of Primary Industries says large schools of baitfish could soon gather near the shore, which may mean sharks will also be attracted to the area.
People who see sharks are urged to notify life savers immediately.