Dive gear, pieces of South Africa shark victim's wetsuit found

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Posted by on June 06, 2005 at 07:09:53:

In Reply to: South Africa: Diver missing after Cape shark attack posted by on June 05, 2005 at 00:09:13:

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (5 June 2005) -- The car keys of the Durbanville scuba diver feared to have been taken by a shark in False Bay at the weekend were found on a beach at Fish Hoek on Sunday, the National Sea Rescue Institute said.

Spokesperson Craig Lambinon said a member of the public had found a piece of wet suit containing the keys in a flap pocket, about seven kilometres from where the attack took place.

It is believed to have been clothing and keys of Henri Murray, 22.

Murray was apparently attacked by what is believed to have been a Great White about 200m off Millers' Point, near Simon's Town, at about 16:00 on Saturday.

The search for Murray by the Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service, police and the NSRI continued until late Sunday afternoon, he said.

For some of the day, a spring low tide helped the shore search.

Police divers on Saturday found the spear-gun, a flipper, a mask, a snorkel and parts of a weight belt belonging to Murray.

"Private boat operators and authorities have been asked to continue to look out for any signs in the days ahead," Lambinon said.

Murray had been diving with fellow University of Stellenbosch student Piet van Niekerk, who managed to escape the shark.

"It appears that Piet van Niekerk managed to shoot the shark with his spear-gun but it has not been determined if this had any effect," said Darren Zimmerman, NSRI Simonstown station commander.

Shark feeding blamed for shark attacks

The recent spate of shark attacks off South Africa has provoked demands that officials shut down commercial cage diving operators who feed sharks to attract them to near-coastal waters for thrill seeking dive tourists.

With the support of the scuba diving and dive travel industries, cage diving operators deny their shark feeding stunts have made South Africa's popular tourism destinations unsafe for both locals and tourists.

Due to concerns about public safety and scientific studies that confirm fish feeding adversely effects marine wildlife, coastal resource management officials in the United States, the Maldives, the Cayman Islands, Egypt and many other popular diving destinations have banned all shark feeding and fish feeding activities.

According to the DEMA dive industry marketing group and PADI, a US-based company that sells diver certification cards, sports apparel and interactive shark feeding thrill dives, shark feeding is a multi-million dollar industry that "rebrands" sharks as cute, playful and friendly just like dolphin and orca aquarium shows.

The United Nations and leading international environmental groups such as the Humane Society and Wildaid condemn interactive shark feeding dives as harassment of marine wildlife and argue that divers and the public should be taught to respect sharks as predators, not cute circus animals exploited by scuba diving companies to perform for the amusement of thrill-seeking tourists.

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