Video: Was this diver’s death provoked?

updated 2/26/2008 12:39:05 PM ET 2008-02-26T17:39:05

An Austrian tourist died Monday after being bitten by a shark while diving near the Bahamas in waters that had been baited with bloody fish parts to attract the predators.

Markus Groh, 49, a Vienna lawyer and diving enthusiast, was on a commercial dive trip Sunday when he was bitten about 50 miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, said Karlick Arthur, Austrian counsel general in Miami.

Groh was in the open water without a cage or similar protection.

The crew aboard the Shear Water, of Riviera Beach-based Scuba Adventures, immediately called the U.S. Coast Guard, which received a mayday from the vessel, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Nick Ameen.

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Groh was airlifted to a hospital, where he died. Groh was bitten on the leg, Ameen said, but he could not be more specific about the extent of his injuries.

It was unclear what type of shark was involved in the attack. The shark got away before anyone could identify the species.

The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office declined to comment, citing an ongoing investigation by the Miami-Dade Police Department. A telephone message left for police was not immediately returned.

A woman who answered the telephone at Scuba Adventures on Monday said the company had no comment.

The company's Web site says it offers the opportunity to get "face to face" with sharks. The site explains that its hammerhead and tiger shark expeditions in the Bahamas are "unique shark trips ... run exclusively for shark enthusiasts and photographers."

To ensure "the best results we will be 'chumming' the water with fish and fish parts," the Web site explains. "Consequently, there will be food in the water at the same time as the divers. Please be aware that these are not 'cage' dives, they are open water experiences."

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