Shark attacks diver at beach
January 15, 2006
A SCUBA diver has been attacked by a white pointer off a Perth beach, as the occupants of a nearby boat tried to warn the man that a shark was in the water.
Brian Williams, 52, of the northern Perth beachside suburb of Sorrento, was bitten on the left elbow after the shark grabbed him from behind as he was scuba diving about 3km offshore from City Beach.
He fought off the animal by hitting him with a spear gun.
His injuries were not life threatening, police and the Fisheries department said.
The predator was believed to be a three to 3.5 metre white pointer.
He was recovering in a Perth hospital after the attack, which happened about 11am (WST) today.
The attack came as the occupants of a boat, which was in the area near the man's unoccupied dive vessel, were being circled by a shark.
They rang police who suggested they try to warn the diver of the danger.
"They advised Water Police that there was a dive vessel nearby with a flag up and there was nobody on board," the Fisheries spokesman said.
"The Water Police requested that they go over in the general vicinity and rev the engine of the boat to attract the attention of the people under water."
Shortly after, the diver surfaced, but he had already been attacked.
It was believed he had separated from the other divers at the time of the attack, the Fisheries spokesman said.
"One of the other divers apparently had some sort of a shark shield operation – a commercial shark repellant – and that may have helped them in the process of them getting back on board safely," the spokesman said.
Surf Life Savers plucked the man from the water, taking him to shore in an inflatable rescue boat. He was taken to hospital by ambulance.
"He was walking and talking," a life saver said.
The shark patrol aircraft and a Fisheries and police vessel went to the area to search for the shark but there has been no sighting.
It is not known if the beach was closed.
There have been three shark fatalities in West Australia since 2000.
In 2000, Perth businessman Ken Crew, 49, died after his leg was ripped off by what was believed to be a white pointer shark up to four metres long off Cottesloe Beach.
In July 2004, Brad Smith, 30, died after being attacked by a shark while surfing at Gracetown, about 270 km south-west of Perth.
In March last year, 26-year-old Geoffrey Brazier was killed by a six metre shark while snorkelling off the Abrolhos Islands, 60 km west of Geraldton.
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