07/17/2005 Zhang Liang (China)

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07/17/2005 Zhang Liang (China)

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Scuba diver sues aquarium citing shark feeding as cause of shark attack
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Despite the educational greenwash by PADI, DEMA and other dive industry marketing elements, shark feeding, shark riding and similar harassment of marine wildlife has been banned by many governments around the world.

BEIJING, China (21 Sep 2005) -- A 24-year-old man is suing Shanghai Changfeng Park after a shark in its aquarium bit his ear and head while he was scuba diving.

The Putuo District People's Court held an evidentiary hearing in the case yesterday.

Zhang Liang is seeking 415,000 yuan (US$51,235) in compensation, including 400,000 yuan for mental anguish. Zhang said he went to the park with two friends to dive with sharks in the aquarium on the afternoon of July 17.

Zhang, who is a certified scuba diver, and his friends were accompanied by two diving supervisors. After their 15-minute dive was up, the diving supervisors gestured to the three men to swim to the surface of the aquarium. Zhang said at that point a 3.5-meter-long shark swam up to him from behind and bit the right side of his head and his ear.

The bite needed three stitches to close and doctors pulled a shark's tooth from his head.

"I was very lucky. If the shark had bitten my head strongly, I would have died," said Zhang. "Now I suffer from a serious mental disease as I often have visions of sharks."

He claims the park should have had one dive supervisor for each diver and should have provided protection equipment such as a helmet. He also said the sharks were being fed at the time of the attack.

"The feeding will stimulate the sharks to attack people," said Zhang. "The park operators, who should know sharks are a fierce animal, have the obligation to protect visitors' security."

Park managers said Zhang didn't follow instructions from his diving supervisor and he made his ascent too quickly, running into the shark. It has agreed to pay his medical bills, but not compensation for mental anguish.


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