Police say a shark that killed a Japanese surfer off Australia's east coast was a great white 3 to 4 meters (10 to 13 feet) long.

Tadashi Nakahara was surfing off Shelly Beach in the New South Wales town of Ballina on Monday when a shark came up behind him and tore his legs off. Fellow surfers rushed him to shore and tried to administer first aid, but he bled to death.

Police said on Wednesday that fisheries experts had determined the shark responsible was a great white.

The attack came one day after another man was bitten by a shark while surfing off a beach just 20 kilometers (12 miles) to the north.

Officials closed beaches in the area and have been searching for the shark that killed Nakahara.