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Great White Shark Kills US Diver in Australia

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on October 25, 2011 1:06 PM

U.S. diver George Wainwright, 32, fell victim to a Great White shark attack on Saturday just off the coast of Perth, Australia.

The area has seen three such attacks in recent weeks, with the latest occurring on October 10. Wainwright was diving near Rottnest Island, which is located just 11 miles from that site.

Local officials have since closed the beach and issued a kill order for the shark. But some are wondering whether they should have acted sooner.

This blogger can't speak to Australian law, but a similar situation in the U.S. probably would have warranted the same initial response.

First, there's no way to prevent a Great White shark attack. The animals are unpredictable, and BBC News reports that they are common in the area. Locals are arguably aware of this fact, and thus assume some of the risk of swimming in the ocean.

George Wainwright, if in the U.S., could also be said to have assumed the risk. He had been living in Perth on a work visa, according to the BBC. He arguably should have been aware of recent attacks.

And second, there's only so much the government can do about a Great White shark once an attack occurs. It's impossible to tell which shark is the culprit without a peek into its stomach, notes the BBC. And since the species is considered "vulnerable," it's probably not the best idea to kill more than one.

The best way to prevent a Great White shark attack is to stay out of infested waters. Or at the very least, stay away on cloudy days, as sharks seem to love them.

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