DEADLY DUEL: Dean Stefanek and the great white shark, which he wrestled and killed.
Diver attacks great white
By PETER HARAN
DEAN "Deano" Stefanek spent 30 minutes battling an enraged 6m great white shark – and lived.
The South Australian tuna diver has told how he volunteered to jump into a tuna pen to try to kill the injured shark.
"Somebody had to do it, no one else was too keen, so I went in," Mr Stefanek, 38, said.
The struggle took place recently at a tuna farm off the coast of Mexico and the tale of the Aussie who "wrestled" the fearsome fish has spread.
Mr Stefanek, who returned to Port Lincoln this month after a six-month contract working on Mexican tuna farms, played down his feat.
"It was one of those things that just happened," he said. "The shark had got in by biting its way through the bottom of the net after detecting a couple of dead fish.
"There was just no way we could get it out, so the decision to kill it was made and some blokes shot it – but no way it would die.
"It started to get messy and I jumped into the water and swam outside the net so I could shoot it with a power head (spear-fitted with a shotgun cartridge)."
The white pointer became enraged and began thrashing around the 45m tuna net.
"Someone had to go in," Mr Stefanek said. "I was the most experienced diver there and no one else was too keen, so I went inside the net.
"The shark saw me and went berserk. I tried to kill it quickly and fired at its head, which only stunned it.
"I fired eight more times and it kept coming back and thrashing. I think it was then that I started to get a bit scared.
"Another diver could see I was in trouble and came inside the net – we figured we were not going to kill it and I thought we'll have to drag it out."
Mr Stefanek surfaced and called for a rope and pulley and dived again to tie a rope around the shark's tail.
While the fish was distracted with another diver, Mr Stefanek looped and knotted its tail and signalled to start winching.
"It was after I looked at it on the boat I realised it was huge," he said. "No one there had ever seen a shark so big and there were a few stunned and amazed looks.
"The great pity was it had to be killed – particularly as it was wounded.
"I know they (great whites) are becoming extinct. But there is only one of me and it could have made me extinct very quickly." www.sundaytimes.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,7034,7737422%255E949,00.html