Australian diver half-swallowed by shark

Jan. 23, 2007 at 8:24 AM
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WOLLONGONG, Australia, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- An Australian abalone diver survived an attack by a white pointer shark by hitting it on the head and jamming his finger into its eye.

Eric Nerhus, 41, is recovering in a Wollongong hospital in New South Wales with a broken nose and bites to the chest and back after he was attacked while diving off the coastal port of Eden.

Police Sgt. Jim Hinckley said Nerhus was at a depth of 25 feet when the shark took his head in its mouth and bit him. Nerhus told police his weight vest and facemask probably saved him, as the shark bit into the lead weights.

"The other set of teeth went across his goggles and crushed it in his face, breaking his nose," Hinckley said. "He hit the shark on the head with the iron used to pry abalone from the rocks and with his free arm punched it in the eye and it released him."

The diver returned to the surface where Nerhus' 25-year-old son hauled him into their boat, which raced to Eden where a helicopter flew him to hospital.

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