Greg Pickering was severely bitten on his head and torso Tuesday by what was believed to be a great white shark, The Western Australian reported. It took doctors at Royal Perth Hospital 10 hours of surgery to repair the damage, the newspaper said. Pickering was in stable condition the day after the attack.
Pickering's boss, Marcus Tromp, said the abalone harvesting boat crew was aghast when they first saw the extent of the diver's wounds when he came to the surface.
"The initial reaction was 'hell' and 'how do we deal with this,'" Tromp told the newspaper.
"But thankfully again there were other team members in the vicinity to support and hats off to them, they remained very calm and they saved his life."
The attack took place about 2.5 miles off the coast and 100 miles from the nearest hospital, the newspaper said. It took almost 1 1/2 hours to get to shore where an ambulance was waiting for the ride to the hospital.
"It was a combination of many fortunate circumstances to place Greg where he is at the moment, at the hands of terrific surgeons," Tromp said.
The last time Pickering was bitten was in 2004 when a bronze whaler shark got hold of him off Cervantes. That one left tooth fragments in his shin when it chomped on him twice.
"Greg is certainly a stalwart of the industry and has been around a long time," Tromp said.
"He's one of the best."