World News

Diver dies after being attacked by a great white shark in Western Australia

Posted January 6, 2020 4:00 a.m. EST

— No trace of an Australian diver has been found more than 24 hours after what police believe was a fatal great white shark attack on Sunday.

Gary Johnson is believed to have been attacked by a great white shark while diving near Cull Island, off Esperance on the south coast of Western Australia. Johnson was president of the local dive club, CNN affiliate 7 News reported.

"No parts or remains have been found, and the search is ongoing," Esperance Police Sgt. Allan Keogh told CNN.

Johnson's partner, Karen Milligan, was close by and witnessed the attack. She is being treated for shock, according to 7 News.

The attack happened hours after a reported shark sighting in the area.

"Preliminary information suggests the victim of the shark attack was in the area on a boat. It is believed the victim was diving at the time," police said in a statement.

Esperance Police and marine rescue volunteers were deployed to search the ocean for the victim.

People have been advised to take additional caution in the water following the incident. Shark warning signs have been installed along the coast and piers.

Great white sharks have been responsible for approximately 40% of shark attacks in Western Australia since 1980, and cause more serious and fatal bites than any other shark species, according to Sharksmart, a government information service.

Esperance is located about 720 kilometers (447 miles) southeast of the state capital, Perth, and is a popular spot for diving.

Sunday's incident marks the second fatal attack in the area in the past three years. In 2017, 17-year old Laeticia Brouwer was fatally injured when surfing with her father a few kilometers from Esperance.

There were 13 shark attack cases in Australia in 2019, according to wildlife advocate group the Taronga Conservation Society Australia.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.