Biology student missing after shark attack

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Posted by on August 24, 2005 at 15:55:09:

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

SEA rescue boats last night found diving equipment belonging to an Adelaide University student who was attacked by a shark during a marine science expedition off an Adelaide beach.

It was near the site of another fatal shark attack last December.

The student, 20, has not been identified but was one of four divers from the Adelaide University marine biology school collecting cuttle fish eggs for marine research two kilometres off the Adelaide's suburban coast.

The shark attacked at 4.10pm yesterday as the diver surfaced near a popular diving spot called the tyre reef off the coast of Glenelg, a marine resort as well as a beach popular with fishermen.

Police said the student was taken as he was surfacing, in an attack seen by two others who were in the boat.

The three traumatised students were brought to shore yesterday afternoon while rescue boats and helicopters began searching the Adelaide shore.

Head of Adelaide University's earth and environmental science school, Bob Hill, said the trip was part of regular research along the coast by the university's marine school.

"The three of them are obviously quite shocked and are talking to the police," Professor Hill said last night.

He said the group, including the man who was taken, were all professional divers and the university had total confidence in the way they conducted themselves.

"I am proud of the efforts they put in from what I have heard from them. They made every attempt they could to do the right thing."

Police said the two people on board the boat, who saw the large shark approach, raised the alarm and pulled one of the divers out of the water.

A local fisherman, Keith Klemasz, who saw the seven-metre charter boat with a flag up indicating a diver was down, said he commented at the time the diver was "crazy" because of the risk of an attack.

He said 30 to 40 local boats burleyed the waters each day and the presence of sharks was well known.

"There are sharks always here. I would never go in these waters," Mr Klemasz said. "I've seen guys out there before at night at the same spot, because there is a reef out there and a sunken vessel, swimming with their lights and they are just shark bait."

Professor Hill said the university would investigate the incident before deciding whether to suspend its diving program.

A search was under way last night for the shark and the missing man. "We are making every attempt we can to locate the person," acting Superintendent Jim Jeffrey said.

"The indications to us though are that it will be very doubtful that we will find the person alive."

In December last year 18-year-old surfboarder Nick Peterson was killed by a great white shark off West Beach, about one kilometre north of Glenelg.

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