Shark attacks Australian Navy diver

February 11, 2009 10:04:09 AM PST
A Navy diver fought off a shark Wednesday in Sydney Harbour, sustaining serious injuries to his hand and leg in the port's first attack in nine years. Paul Degelder, 31, was swimming on the surface of the water with a police diver just off a Navy base when the shark attacked, Australian Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Nigel Coates said.

Degelder punched the shark a couple of times and it swam off, Coates said. He was pulled into a nearby boat, given first aid and taken to the hospital. The attack was over in seconds. There was no immediate information on the type of shark involved.

Degelder was in stable condition after surgery.

The attack happened during an underwater trial of new naval defense technologies. The trial was temporarily suspended Wednesday as Navy officers hunted for the shark, Coates said.

The last shark attack in the harbor occurred in 2000, said shark expert John West from Sydney's Taronga Zoo. The last fatal attack in the harbor was in 1963.

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