Australian diver Greg Pickering is recovering from head, face, and torso injuries after surviving his second shark attack in less than a decade. Doctors at Royal Perth Hospital said the 55-year-old is in stable condition after his run-in with what officials believe to be a great white.
Stuart Smith, Department of Fisheries Director General, issued a catch-and-kill order for a “sizeable white shark” in the area of the attack. Smith said his decision was based off of imminent threat guidelines given the great white shark’s reputation for attacking humans.
“I took into account that it’s currently school holidays and there are likely to be people on the south coast holidaying, camping and potentially using the water. I formed the view that there’s an imminent threat of further attack,” Smith told The Advertiser. “If a sizable white shark is caught in the waters over the coming hours, I am likely to give the order to destroy that shark. I don’t have any particular desire to destroy a shark, but my overriding concern is to ensure public safety.”
Pickering was diving for abalone off Western Australia’s southeast coast when the attack occurred. According to Southern Wild Abalone’s manager, Marcus Tromp, Pickering endured “substantial injuries” and required assistance from a boat that was in the area.
“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,” Tromp told Perth Now. “He would have been preparing for his daily business and unfortunately this has occurred. Obviously, there has been some substantial injuries with any encounter with a shark but at this stage, again, still quiet sketchy.”
After he was treated at a hospital in nearby Esperance, he was transported to Royal Perth where he underwent 10 hours of surgery. Despite a successful operation, doctors were unable to save an eye that Pickering lost in the attack.
Back in 2004, Pickering was hospitalized after an attack that occurred while he was spearfishing in the northern area of Western Australia. He was bitten twice by a 1.5-meter-long bronze whaler on the shin and calf before escaping the shark’s jaws.
"The shark just turned on me and charged at me and it latched onto my leg and it bit twice,” Pickering told Perth Now. “It wasn't excruciating pain, I was surprised. I could see there was a big chunk of skin hanging off and the wetsuit was sort of holding it together."