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Australian diver survives second shark attack in 10 years

1:09

An Australian diver was recovering in hospital Wednesday after surviving his second shark attack in 10 years, according to local media reports.

Greg Pickering was diving for shellfish when he was gored by what officials suspect was a great white near the city of Esperance in Western Australia.

It was the second time the 55-year-old has found himself in the jaws of a shark. In 2004, he was bitten on the leg while spearfishing near Cervantes, north of the Western Australia capital, Perth, the Western Australia Today newspaper reported.

"When the shark grabbed me it just sort of struck bone,” he told Reuters after that attack. “I felt the teeth go right into the bone."

Pickering suffered injuries to his head and face in Tuesday's attack, Royal Flying Doctor Service spokeswoman Carrie Parsons told reporters. He was flown from a hospital in Esperance to the Perth Royal Hospital Tuesday night where he underwent 10 hours of surgery.

Royal Perth Hospital spokesman Matt Avery told reporters he was in a stable condition on Wednesday.

Mr Pickering was working for Southern Wild Abalone when he was attacked and company manager told Australian network, ABC that he suffered "substantial injuries" and a nearby vessel came to help.

"Another diver's boat was in the vicinity so they have come to assist the crew, give first aid and obviously to bring the diver's vessel to shore and administer first aid while this diver remained on the deck of his boat and rendezvous with the ambulance," he said.

"The initial reaction was help," fellow diver Jonas Woolford said. "And how do we deal with this."

Australian Underwater Federation WA spearfishing representative, Graham Carlisle told PerthNow that Pickering, “would have had a number of close calls, as would any spear fisherman.”

“The more time in the water, the higher the probability something will happen,” he said. “That’s just an accepted reality of the work.”

A catch and kill order for the creature was called off Wednesday, according to The Australian, because there was no longer an imminent risk of attack. 

Sharks are common in Australian waters, though the nation has averaged just more than one fatal attack per year over the past 50 years.

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