Shark Attack in Sydney Harbor Partly Severs Navy Diver’s Hand
A shark attack in Sydney harbor today left a navy diver with a partially severed hand and leg injuries, authorities said, dpa reported.
The 31-year-old was rushed to St. Vincent's Hospital where he is undergoing surgery for "severe injuries" to his hand and leg, Brett Garvey, a spokesman for New South Wales state ambulance service, said by telephone.
The attack occurred at Woolloomooloo Bay, near the Sydney Opera House, at 6:55 a.m. local time as the diver participated in military exercises at Garden Island Navy Base, the Defense Department said. The diver said he noticed a "dark shadow" beneath him before being bitten, according to Garvey.
In the past 50 years, there have been 60 human deaths off Australia's 27,000 kilometers (16,780 miles) of coast as a result of shark attacks, an average of about 1.2 a year, according to the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, which operates Sydney's Taronga Zoo. Marine biologists say dwindling fish stocks may be forcing sharks to come closer to land in search of food.
Several species, including the great white, tiger shark and bull shark are dangerous to humans. None are thought to target people and specialists say attacks occur when a shark confuses swimmers, surfers and divers with its usual prey. There are 165 shark species in Australian waters.