Shark Kills Austrian Scuba Diver in Baited Water

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," February 26, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Now this is grim—an adventure turns deadly. A shark attack—an Austrian tourist dies after a shark bites him 50 miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It happened during a scuba diving trip.

But it is not just any scuba trip. The man was open water scuba diving with a company called "Scuba Adventures" on a trip touted by the company as "unique shark trips" run exclusively for shark enthusiasts and photographers.

Before the dive, the company baits the sharks but putting pieces of fish in the water, and the scent of the fish attracts the shark.

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Doc Anes, owner of San Diego Shark Diving Expedition joins us live. Doc has been on scuba diving trips with Scuba Adventures. Welcome Doc, and, Doc, this sounds extraordinarily dangerous. Tell me about it. Obviously somebody has died from it which confirms the danger of it, but what is the attraction to this?

DOC ANES, SAN DIEGO SHARK DIVING EXPEDITIONS: It is an extreme adventure experience, and, primarily for underwater photographers who are looking for images of animals that they cannot normally get close to on a typical scuba dive. So if you want pictures of sharks, you have to go on a shark dive.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anyway to enclose yourself or encase yourself so that you are at least somewhat protected from these sharks?

ANES: It depends on the species you're looking for and the situation. If you are diving with white sharks, you certainly want to be using a shark cage.

I have been on this particular experience several times myself. As a matter of fact, my wife came out with me last April, and she loved this experience. And we did not feel threatened at all.

Now, I do not know what happened on this particular dive. I was not on it, of course, but I know that the crew of the Shearwater, which is boat that was being used for this particular trip, the crew is a very experienced. As a matter of fact, the owner of the boat is the pioneer of the type of guy that they were doing.

VAN SUSTEREN: Explain this type of dive, how they do this bait. That is the term that we are using—I do not know if that is the correct term— but explain to us what is done.

ANES: What happen is that they put fish wraps essentially in two milk crates that are tied together so that none of the pieces come out. They swim these crates down to the reef, and they tie them to be reef with a float so it essentially puts scent into the area. Now the sharks, obviously, can smell the scent. They gather up, but they can't get any of the fish. So they will just cruise around and stay in the area because they do smell the scent.

VAN SUSTEREN: It would seem to be that therein lies the danger: if they can't get to the fish in the crate, why not grab the guy who is swimming there?

ANES: Because he does not look like bait to them, he is not giving off any of that scent.

VAN SUSTEREN: There must have been some attraction between this shark and this man who died, because he bit him. How do you explain that?

ANES: I can't. You're dealing with wild animals here. It is not like going to the zoo and looking at the lions and the tigers.

Think of yourself on a safari. You're walking through the Savannah there, and you have a guide with you. Now, you're doing everything that you can to mitigate the risk. But suppose you have a leopard that is in a tree that you did not see.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you ever been bitten by a shark?

ANES: Have I ever been bitten by a shark?


ANES: I used to get bitten all of the time on the west coast when did blue shark dives, but we were wearing chain mail suits, so there was our protection.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was there some suit this man could happen wearing, or something this man could have done to avoid—?

ANES: I do not think so, because for this particular type of dive, you just want to wear your normal scuba gear. You want to wear typically all black if possible, so that you do not have these contrasting bright colors. You look like part of the environment.

VAN SUSTEREN: Doc, thank you, sir.

ANES: OK, you're welcome.

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