A diver was killed on Saturday off the coast of Australia by a large shark as his daughter watched, and locals are asserting that they repeatedly encountered a great white in the region in the days leading up to the attack.
The incident transpired in the waters off Maria Island in the southern island state of Tasmania, according to AFP, when a man in his late 40s was diving with his adult daughter, hunting for scallops. After the woman surfaced, her father failed to come up, at which point she grew concerned, according to Tasmania Police Inspector David Wiss.
“His daughter became worried and went down and checked on her father, she saw a very large shark, she saw her father being attacked by the shark.”
— The Independent (@Independent) July 26, 2015
The woman, who is in her 20s, immediately returned to their boat and set off a flare before making an emergency phone call. Other boats came to their aid, helping to pull the victim up using his air hose, but his wounds proved to be fatal. According to the Australian Shark Attack File, the incident represents the first lethal shark attack in Tasmania since 1993.
Though the species of shark responsible for the man’s death has yet to be identified, a 15-foot-long great white was reportedly seen in the area in the days ahead of the attack, according to the ABC. Glamorgan Spring Bay Mayor Michael Kent noted that despite the animal’s presence, sharks are hardly common in the region.
“There’s been a so-called white pointer [great white shark] seen a couple of times over the last week out and about but [there is] not particularly a lot of sharks in and around that particular area,” he observed. “I don’t know how long the shark’s been in the area. I’ve been told about a week.”
— Nine News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) July 26, 2015
Diver Danny Smith encountered the shark near Lachlan Island on Friday afternoon, after the animal inadvertently bumped his shoulder while he was near the bottom.
“I thought it was my mate and I turned around and looked at… what I said was a 14 to 16 foot great white. It had no intention of biting me, I believe, it just sort of cruised past to see what I was.”
After reaching the safety of his boat and raising the alarm, Smith and other crew members worked to pull his diving buddy aboard. At that moment, however, the white shark reappeared.
“We saw fins and arms and legs going everywhere, we were initially thinking that we were going to pull in half a body,” Smith recalled. “We got him on the boat and [the shark] came right to the back of the boat and then just descended back to the bottom.”
The attack is hardly the first fatal incident of its kind to transpire in Australia this year. As the Inquisitr previously reported, a Japanese man was killed at Shelly Beach near Ballina in February when he was struck from below by a great white shark while surfing.
[Photo by Ryan Pierse / Getty Images]