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Shark Attack at 57 metres in Papua New Guinea

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Published on Nov 21, 2011

Myself & my dive buddy were diving off Pidgeon Island in East New Britain Papua New Guinea. The two days previous we had been shark calling (rubbing a plastic bottle to create vibrations and sound that attract sharks) at around 30-40 metres looking for silver tip and grey reef sharks. We were pretty keen to see if we could get some bigger sharks and so decided to go deeper. I will point out that both of us are very experienced divers and fully knew the risks of diving so deep (and without the right kit too!). We descended fast down to around 57 metres, planning to spend no more than a couple of minutes there before continuing the rest of the dive as a deco dive. It was about 3 minutes into the dive when my buddy turned to see what he thinks was a big Silver Tip Reef shark (although there has been a lot of speculation as to what type of shark it was, maybe grey reef or possibly juvenile bull shark) charging in at him fast. He managed to roll over as the shark hit him and unbelievably he was unharmed. Apart from a severe headache (the shark actually hit him square in the head!) he was completely unscathed having not so much as a scratch on him. My buddy had said that when he saw the shark coming in at was going very fast but then slowed down just before hitting him, also it's mouth wasn't fully open and it made no attempt to bite. We think that what happened was that at that depth the shark would have been hunting and zoned in on the vibrations to go for a kill, upon realising we weren't food but a couple of idiot divers it turned round and went away.

I'd like to point out that my buddy (who is a dive instructor with over five thousand logged dives) has done this literally hundreds of times before in the area without incident as have a number of divers in the area over a period of years. What's different about this particular dive is that it is the first time it had been attempted by us below 40 metres. We knew the risks, we planned the dive and the deco time, we only had ourselves to blame if it all went tits up.

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