The remains of the president of the Esperance Dive Club, Gary Johnson, is being searched for after his wife reported that he was attacked by a great white shark. The attack occurred on Sunday afternoon near Cull Island in Western Australia. After witnessing the attack on her husband, Karen Milligan had to be treated for shock. Paying tribute to her husband, Milligan stated that the world was a "poorer place" without him.
Johnson and Milligan ran the Esperance Dive Club together. The experienced divers had been diving near the coastal town of Esperance, 713 km southeast of Perth. Johnson was the only one in the water when the traumatic incident occurred.
Milligan rang the 000-emergency number to tell the operator that she had just witnessed a great white shark drag her husband away. Details of the attack remain unclear since Milligan went into shock after witnessing the attack.
The area in which the attack took place is infamous for shark attacks. A surfer lost her life in 2017 while surfing off the Esperance coast. Another surfer has lost an arm and a leg in 2014, in an area near where Johnson was attacked.
News.com.au reported that after Milligan's distress call, local man Glen Quinlivan reached Milligan's boat. Quinlivan claimed that he was getting ready for a day trip on his boat when he heard Milligan's cries for help. Upon reaching the spot, Quinlivan and other responders found a pair of flippers and a sleeve in the water. However, the search team was unable to locate the shark nor the diver.
Milligan was rushed by St John Ambulance to a hospital in Esperance, where she received treatment for shock.
While the search continues for Johnson's remains, Milligan paid tribute to her partner. She remembers the farming machine retailer as "a kind, gentle, strong man" who "only ever saw the best in people." Friends of the couple pointed out that the diving enthusiasts went diving whenever the weather was good.
The Guardian pointed out that on social media, Johnson had revealed that he was not worried about sharks when he went diving. He had claimed that he had only one encounter with a shark on previous diving occasions, and the shark was not interested in him. He also wrote that he used a shark protection device when he went diving. It is unclear if he had any such device on him on the day of the attack.
Milligan did not blame the shark for the death of her husband. She stated that her husband opposed the culling of sharks. Milligan pointed out that if the fish population had not declined, sharks would not be inclined to prey on humans.