CANBERRA, Australia -- A marine biologist killed in a shark attack had fought off the predator before it returned and pulled him deep into the water, his diving partner said yesterday.
Police said they have abandoned the search for the body of Jarrod Stehbens, who was 23 years old, after the attack on Wednesday off Glenelg Beach on Australia's south coast. Five fatal shark attacks have been reported in that region since 2000.
''Jarrod fought it off initially, then it came back again and grabbed his leg and just took him deeper," Stehbens' diving partner, Justin Rowntree, said yesterday.
''He seemed quite calm -- he was trying to get his leg out of its mouth," Rowntree added.
Rowntree and Stehbens, both marine biologists at the University of Adelaide, were diving to collect cuttlefish eggs when the shark attacked close to a popular beach in the city of Adelaide. The men were 16 feet from the surface in water 60 feet deep.
Two research colleagues on a boat above did not see the shark approach. Rowntree sensed no danger, even when the predator brushed past him.
''I thought it was a dolphin," Rowntree said. ''It just nudged my side and I looked around. He saw ''just a big white mass."
The attack, eight months after an 18-year-old surfer, Nick Peterson, was killed by a 16-foot great white shark at nearby West Beach, led residents to say that the species, which is protected, was posing a growing menace.