August 24, 2005

Diver reported taken by shark off south Australia

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Emergency crews were set to resume their
search at first light on Thursday for a diver taken by a shark
in the sea off Australia's rugged southern coast.

The man was one of two university researchers who had been
diving off a boat to collect cuttlefish eggs about 2 km (1.2
miles) off Glenelg, near the South Australian state capital,
Adelaide, when the shark struck.

Colleagues hauled the second man back onto the boat but the
shark used its snout to push the first diver back into the
water before his friends could grab him, Australian media

A search was launched immediately after the attack, and an
oxygen tank and buoyancy vest were recovered, before darkness
forced rescuers to suspend operations, Australian Associated
Press (AAP) reported.

It was the second shark attack in the past eight months in
the waters near Adelaide. Last December, an 18-year-old surfer
was killed off nearby West Beach by what witnesses described as
a great white shark.

The waters off South Australia are a favorite hunting
ground of the feared great white. AAP quoted local shark expert
Andrew Fox as saying it was likely that the shark in the latest
attack was a great white too, although he doubted it was the
same one that took the surfer last year.

"There's always speculation after any shark attack around
the world of a rogue shark, or a shark gone bad, a shark that
likes the taste of humans," he said.

"But there's actually, in the International Shark Record,
there's never been any evidence that this has ever occurred."

Wednesday's presumed fatality is the fifth from a shark
attack in South Australia since 2000.

Across the country there have been four fatal attacks in
the past 14 months. Most recently a tourist boat captain was
bitten in half as he snorkelled off Australia's remote west
coast in March.

Australia's first documented shark attack was in 1791 and
there have been more than 625 attacks in the past 200 years,
about 190 of them fatal.