Man attacked by shark now safe in hospital

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A great white shark.

Abalone diver Eric Nerhus is recovering in hospital after being attacked by a 10-foot-long great white shark while scuba diving off Cape Howe, south of Sydney, Australia, on Tuesday.

Forty one year-old Nerhus said he was diving near the shore in murky waters, when the shark grabbed him by the head, crushing his diving mask. Nerhus fought back, poking the shark's eye socket with his fingers. The shark released him but came back again, grabbing Nerhus by his upper body, leaving deep lacerations on his torso. Nerhus managed to free one arm and stabbed the shark with a chisel. When the shark released him again, he made for the surface, where he was pulled out of the water by his 25-year-old son and was rushed to hospital.

He is being treated for serious injuries to his head, body and left arm and is expected to remain in hospital for a few more days. He was able to recount his experience to reporters.

Nerhus believes that the shark may have mistaken his black wetsuit and flipper clad figure for a seal, prompting the attack. Grant Willis, a shark expert at Sydney Aquarium agreed with the assessment, speaking to CNN.

An average of about 15 shark attacks occur in Australia every year, of which one is fatal. This is one of the highest shark attack rates in the world.


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