Posted On:1/17/2006 7:00pm
Diver fights off shark
Tue Jan 17, 8:54 AM ET
SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian scuba diver has survived an attack by a great white shark after fighting it off with his speargun and then his hands.
Bernie Williams, 46, was diving for crayfish off a beach in the Western Australian city of Perth Sunday when the shark attacked him from below, biting his arm.
"I just got hit by a very big shark. It came on my left hand side, from below. I never even saw it coming," Williams told Australian television Monday.
"I stabbed it on the nose with a speargun, but it was just like hitting a lump of steel," said Williams, who suffered deep puncture wounds to his left arm.
The 3-meter (9 feet) shark returned and attacked Williams again, dragging him through the water.
"It chomped on my arm and took me for a ride for about 2 metres (6 feet)," Williams said.
After about eight minutes fighting for his life, Williams managed to swim to the surface with two diving friends and climb into a boat.
One of the divers had an electronic shark repellant device attached to his air tanks, but Williams said his survival was just a matter of luck.
"At the end of the day it was pure luck," he said.
Earlier this month a 21-year-old woman died after she was attacked by three sharks while swimming off an island on Australia's northeast coast.
Sarah Whiley lost both forearms and suffered wounds to the legs and torso. She later died in hospital.
The latest shark attacks have sparked warnings around Australia that sharks are swimming closer to shore, chasing fish in cleaner, warmer waters.
Australia's first recorded shark attack was in 1791. By September 2005, there had been a total of 654 attacks in Australian waters, 192 of them fatal, according to the Australian Shark Attack File at Sydney's Taronga Zoo.
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Posted On:1/17/2006 8:36pm
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