You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Four-metre shark killed Tas diver: coroner

AAP logoAAP 19/12/2016 Andrew Drummond

Forensic tests found that a great white shark of up to 4.2 metres long killed an experienced diver off the east coast of Tasmania.

Hobart man Damian John Johnson, 46, died in July 2015 when diving in the Mercury Passage with his 20-year-old daughter, and coroner Olivia McTaggart on Monday published her findings based on the evidence of shark experts.

"They underwent a detailed analysis of the bite marks, injuries and damage to Mr Johnson's dive gear for the purpose of determining the type and size of the shark and the manner of the attack," Ms McTaggart said.

Scrapes including those found on Mr Johnson's weight belt were consistent with the serrated teeth of a great white shark.

"The injuries sustained to Mr Johnson and the damage to the dive gear suggest at least two major bites," she continued.

"Estimates of tooth base width based on measurements taken from the dive gear suggest a shark of 3.9 - 4.2 metres in length was responsible for the damage."

During their early morning dive, Mr Johnson and his daughter returned to their boat with a haul of scallops and realising they were below their legal catch limit, he returned for more.

When Mr Johnson failed to resurface, his daughter returned to the water to find her father in the jaws of the shark.

The day before in the same stretch of water two divers survived a close brush with a large shark.

Despite attempting to alert authorities the same day, it was the next morning by the time the pair successfully raised the alarm and Mr Johnson was already dead.

Ms McTaggart said people should contact Tasmania Police in the event of a shark sighting, so the wider community can be notified.

There have been 11 reported shark attacks in Tasmanian waters since 1820 and Mr Johnson's death is the latest of six fatal attacks, the coroner noted.

Sightings of great white sharks - a protected species - in the area of Mr Johnson's death are not unusual.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon