Navy Diver

Just a reminder for wannabe divers beware of Sharks!

All diving operations at Garden Bay, in Sydney Harbour, have been suspended as Navy boat crews search for a shark that attacked one of their own.

A Navy clearance diver suffered serious wounds to his hand and thigh when a shark attacked him just before 7am (AEDT) on Wednesday.

He was taken to St Vincent's Hospital, where a spokesman at 11am (AEDT) said he had undergone surgery and was now in intensive care in a serious but stable condition.

"He's improved a little bit," the spokesman said.

"He's out of surgery and he's in recovery."

The man, who has not been named, was in the water with a police diver as part of an underwater trial to test new naval defence technology at the time.

The divers and a safety boat were somewhere between HMAS Kuttabul Navy Base at Garden Island and Mrs Macquarie's Chair.

Australian Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Nigel Coates said it was the first time he had heard of a navy diver being injured in such an incident.

"I believe it's the first time that one of our divers has been attacked by a shark," Admiral Coates told reporters in Sydney.

Since February 2, the Navy has been conducting its Kondari Trial to test new technologies designed to protect Australia's ports, naval bases and ships from water attacks.

The trials include detecting divers with SONAR equipment and using remotely operated underwater vehicles to inspect the hulls of ships, as well as piers and surrounding sea beds.

But those operations have been called off following the attack.

"We have suspended our diving activities over this exercise until further notice," Admiral Coates said.

"I understand there are boats out looking for the shark."

The divers involved in the incident could not identify the species or size of the shark.

"The attack occurred very quickly," Rear Admiral Coates said.

"The shark attacked the diver (and) our diver punched the shark, I believe, a couple of times.

"The shark then disappeared very quickly - it was all over, I'm told, in a few seconds."

The injured diver was then hauled into a nearby safety boat, given first aid and taken by ambulance to St Vincent's Hospital for surgery.

The last shark attack in Sydney Harbour was at Athol Bay, near Taronga Zoo, in 2000, and the last fatal shark attack in the harbour occurred in 1963, Mr West said.

Martha Hathaway was killed by a bull shark at Middle Harbour in 1963.
That reminds me of a op i did a few years ago. When at a brief the co stated if you come in contact with a shark just smack it in the nose or poke it in the eye. Right!
As is always said during training, "The Diving Manual states that sharks rarely attack divers. Unfortunately, sharks can't read."

Hope the Aussie CD is well on the mend.
Got injured myself once in the Indian Ocean whilst diving. Cut my forehead and the beach was the nearest safe haven. I never swam so fast in my life. All I could think of was SHARKS!
UPDATE for those who are interested:

So far we have heard that he may have saved the life of one of the divers with him.

Some of the reports in the media are inaccurate. (surprise)

Paul has lost one hand, however he may not have the use of his leg, but the decision on whether to keep his leg is his decision.

He is in good spirits and has his parents and a couple of his Navy friends with him.

The irony of it all is that he was initially in the Army and had a tour in Iraq and got out of there OK. He transferred from the Army to the Navy as he wanted to be a Clearance Diver only to be attacked by a shark.
Jimmy - Check your PMs. This story gets even more poignant. I've just read this report on the Times website which states that AB Degelder:

The Times said:
...was to take part in a three-month exchange with the Royal Navy's Southern Diving Unit One based at Plymouth. A spokesperson for the Royal Australian Navy told The Times that the exchange was “designed to improve interoperability between the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navyâ€. Able Seaman de Gelder’s trip is now in doubt as he may not dive with the navy again because of his injuries. The navy clearance diver’s right hand is believed to have been almost severed by the ferocious attack which also left him with large bites on his thigh.

Able Seaman de Gelder’s family confirmed today that he had lost his right hand above the wrist and may also have to have his right leg amputated. “However he is in high spirits,†the family said in a statement...
'Kinnel - someone must have piped "Call the hands" and the shark heard it.

A surfer was dragged from the ocean with his hand dangling from his arm after being mauled by a vicious shark at Bondi Beach in Sydney today - the first reported attack by an ocean predator at Australia's most iconic beach in 80 years.

Today's edition of The Times contains this article following the release of this sad but encouraging update by the Australian Defence Department about AB(CD) Paul de Gelder who was attacked by a shark in Sydney Harbour last week. He had been due to serve with the RN CD Team at Plymouth on a three-month exchange posting as a participant in Exercise LONG LOOK:

MSPA 051/09 Wednesday, 18 February 2009

‘I will today have my right leg amputated. The past week has been quite an overwhelming experience and without certain people I definitely wouldn't be alive today.

I'd like to thank a couple of heroes: Leading Seaman Clearance Diver Jeremy Thomas, Able Seaman Clearance Diver Ryan Dart and Seaman Clearance Diver Arthur Mc Lachlin, my colleagues and good mates who pulled me out of the water and saved me from what I understand was a three metre Bull Shark.

I'd also like to thank the paramedics who got me to the hospital within an inch of my life, and finally I must express my deepest gratitude to the fantastic doctors and staff at St Vincent's Emergency, ICU, and Navy Ward.

My family, friends, and workmates have shown me limitless support over the past week and during this stressful time, they are keeping a smile on my face and love in my heart.

I'm looking forward to rebuilding my life and taking on the new challenges I have to face. Ultimately I would like to return to what I love - Navy diving.

Throughout this trauma the Royal Australian Navy has provided myself and my family with the necessities required for travel, support and a foundation on which I can plan for the future.

There are so many people who have sent their best wishes and support that I couldn't possibly name them all, but each of them have helped me to rise above this potentially life shattering situation and I thank them all.
Some time ago there was a movie made about an African/American CD named Carl Brashear, and his struggle to be accepted by the US Navy. The movie was called "Men of Honour". Starring: Robert DeNiro & Cuba Gooding, JR.

After losing a leg in an accident on board the ship he was serving on, he went on to become a Master Chief Diver, my admiration for Able Seaman Clearance Diver Paul de Gelder to continue with his career after losing his leg and his right hand will be in the same league as Carl Brashear...mate you are one tough bloke.
Carl Brashear died in July 2006 (link). If the film was even half accurate about his battles against racial discrimination and overcoming the loss of one of his legs in order to continue diving, he certainly was one hell of a guy.

He was a hard hat diver though Jimmy, not a CD. In some ways, this would have been even harder with the weight of those lead-encased boots to lug round.
sgtpepperband said:
The_Jimmy said:
Yeah NG, but he was a tough bloke both mental and physical.
Shipmate of yours, was he..?! :roll:
LOL SPB I was talking about Brashear the story I think was inspirational what with all the BS he and his fellow blacks (To hell with the PC brigade)had to put up with in the USN.....shipmate of mine?...nah not him but am sure you and a few others have served with someone who has. 8)
See what's happened since the first post of this thread. According to this article on the Australian 9 News website, RAN clearance diver Paul de Gelder, who lost a hand and a leg in a Sydney Harbour shark attack on 11 February, is back diving and walking and says he wants to return to work at the scene of the attack. Be sure to watch the video of this amazing guy here.

I managed to get round watching that program about their divers, they are trying to get the title of SF as there training is longer than Americian SEALs training and also just like are fleet teams they have their own, they can often get attached to their commando units. But overoll a very good insight in the divers world. Cant wait to start mine now.

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