nvestigation begins into fatal shark attack.

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Posted by on December 11, 2004 at 16:28:40:

In Reply to: Man dies in horror shark attack (Queensland Australia) posted by on December 11, 2004 at 11:07:49:

Authorities investigating a fatal shark attack off Cairns in far-north Queensland say it is too early to say what species of shark was involved.

A 38-year-old man was attacked while spearfishing on the Great Barrier Reef, about 60 nautical miles north-east of Port Douglas.

Rescuers say the man was on a private game fishing boat at Opal Reef, and was spearfishing with two friends.

Police say the victim was diving alone when his two friends, who were still on the boat, heard him screaming for help and saw him being pushed vertically out of the water.

Steve Akers from the Queensland Rescue Helicopter Service was one of the first to arrive at the scene with a doctor.

"They heard him scream, they went over to him and obviously there was blood in the water and that is all they saw and then dragged him onto the vessel and then proceeded to stem the bleeding but obviously it didn't work," he said.

The body was flown back to Cairns Hospital.

A leading Australian shark researcher says the attack was probably caused by the spear fishing activity.

Marine biologist Richard Fitzpatrick says it appears the men's spear fishing attracted the shark.

"Sounds like the incident is the result of people spear fishing in the water, and as soon as there is blood or vibrations from the fish sharks will come in to investigate and will come quite close to the divers," he said.

"In this case there has been an unfortunate incident where the shark has bitten the diver."

Mr Fitzpatrick says he will know more about the type of shark involved after studying the victims injuries.

He says after hearing the man was pushed out of the water during the attack, it sounds like the behaviour of a bull shark or a black whaler.

"By looking at the bite it will help determine the kind of shark it was and if it was a whaler, tiger or even something else like a great hammer head," he said.

Investigations are continuing into attack.

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