Shark takes marine biologist

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Posted by on August 24, 2005 at 15:41:53:

A BRILLIANT young marine biologist has been attacked and killed by a shark while scuba diving off Adelaide's Glenelg beach as two of his university colleagues watched from a boat.

The shark attacked Jarrod Stehbens, aged in his twenties, as he dived in 18m of water with another Adelaide University researcher in a group of four collecting cuttlefish eggs at a diving location known as the Glenelg tyre reef, 5km off the city's main metropolitan beach.

The death comes eight months after the last fatal attack on West Beach, just a short distance from Glenelg, and raises renewed fears about the city's coastal strip.

The attack occured at about 4pm, when two researchers in the boat spotted the shark and managed to dragged one of their colleagues from the water.

But the shark used its snout to push Mr Stehbens under.

"Two people in the boat did witness the attack," Acting Superintendent Jim Jeffery said. "The indications are that it will be very doubtful that we will find the person alive."

Superintendent Jeffery said police were unsure what type of shark was involved in the attack, saying the traumatised witnesses had only described it as "large".

He said the diver who had been pulled back into the boat had a narrow escape.

"It was the one that was still underwater, he was taken," Superintendent Jeffery said. "One of the divers had been pulled back on to the boat as the other one was taken."

Fisherman Keith Klemasz was fishing for snapper and whiting around the tyre reef at the time of the attack and said there was "plenty of bait out in the water".

"I have been out there at one and two o'clock in the morning, and seen the lights (of the divers) below," he said.

"It's crazy - they are just sharkbait".

One onlooker reported a 4m great white was spotted 20km off North Haven, on the northern edge of Adelaide, two weeks ago.

Members of Mr Stehben's family, who live in the southern South Australian town of Beachport, would not comment last night.

Mr Stehbens had been collecting cuttlefish as part of a research project for the university's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Two helicopters combing the western horizon at dusk were the only visible sign from shore that Adelaide had suffered its second fatal shark attack in eight months.

In almost the same spot on December 16, the friends of 18-year-old Nick Petersen stood after the Adelaide man was taken by a pair of great white sharks. Three of Petersen's friends, who witnessed the attack 200m off West Beach, said two sharks measuring 6m and 4.5m had killed their friend, and urged the police to find and kill the animals.

Police in wetsuits and diving gear joined about 20 boats setting out from West Beach boat ramp for the search as family and friends of the victim gathered outside the sea rescue squadron headquarters.

The attack came after a large group of fishers in boats had spent the day catching whiting.

South Australian sea rescue squadron commodore Fraser Bell said yesterday's sea conditions were reminiscent of the day Nick Petersen was killed.

"Its nearly identical conditions to December when the last lad was taken but a bit further out," Mr Bell said.

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