Cuttlefish diver 'taken by shark'

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Posted by on August 24, 2005 at 15:44:21:

In Reply to: Shark takes marine biologist posted by on August 24, 2005 at 15:41:53:

A CUTTLEFISH researcher is presumed dead after a shark took him during a diving trip off a popular city beach, despite his colleagues' frantic efforts to save him.

The man and another diver were in the water off Glenelg Beach, western Adelaide, when two of their colleagues aboard a boat saw the shark approach.

The men aboard the boat hauled one of the divers out of the sea, but the shark used its snout to push the other diver back into the water, a colleague of the men who asked not to be named said.

A search was launched immediately after the attack, which happened about 4pm (CST), and an oxygen tank and buoyancy vest were recovered.

Darkness forced emergency crews to suspend the search before the man's body was found. The search will resume at first light tomorrow.

The four involved in the attack all worked with the University of Adelaide, and had been collecting cuttlefish eggs for a research project.

The university head of earth and environmental sciences Professor Bob Hill said he knew the four, and all were experienced divers.

"I'm actually quite proud of the three of them from what I have heard ... they made every attempt they could to do the right thing," Professor Hill said.

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

"The indications to us are that it will be very doubtful that we will find the person alive," Supt Jeffery said.

Police meanwhile ordered other recreational boat users out of the water in the vicinity of the attack a coastal area about 10km from central Adelaide.

Glenelg Beach is just 1kme from West Beach, the location of a fatal shark attack last December.

In that incident, Nick Peterson, 18, was killed while surfboarding with friends behind a boat.

The waters off South Australia are a favourite hunting ground of the feared great white shark, which has been blamed for several fatal attacks in recent years, including that on Mr Peterson.

"As far as determining the species of shark, it's very likely that, other than a bronze whaler shark, the great white shark is really the only large predatory shark that's capable of actually taking a diver," Adelaide shark expert Andrew Fox said on ABC radio.

Mr Fox doubted the shark involved in today's attack was the same one that took Mr Peterson.

"There's always speculation after any shark attack around the world of a rogue shark, or a shark gone bad, a shark that likes the taste of humans," he said.

"But there's actually, in the International Shark Record, there's never been any evidence that this has ever occurred."

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