Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Researcher Describes Fatal Great White Attack

Scuba divers fear it. Unfortunately, this one witnessed it.

Researcher Justin Rowntree appeared in the Coroner's Court where he described the fatal Great White attack at Glenelg in August 2005.

"I was looking at Jarrod when I felt a whack on the back which rotated me around," Mr Rowntree said.

"Initially I thought it was a dolphin but pretty quickly I realised it was not."

Mr Stehbens, a "highly experienced diver" then fought for his life against the five-metre Great White shark.

"It went straight towards Jarrod, initially he whacked it directly on the snout and it seemed to go away momentarily," Mr Rowntree said.

"Then it came back and took his leg and dragged him under ... it happened like a flash."

The university students were almost finished their dive for cuttlefish eggs at the widely-used Glenelg Tyre Reef when the shark attacked.

The worst part is, the boat from which they were diving provided shark shields.

Mr Rowntree said while he was unaware there were shark shields on the boat, he probably would not have worn one anyway.

"The ones that existed, that apparently were on the boat at the time were big cumbersome things," he said.

Mr Rowntree said the shark shields were "annoying" to wear and often gave divers small electric shocks underwater.

Probably not as "annoying" as losing a dive buddy.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Stehbens family.

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