UPDATEThe 55-year-old Esperance man who survived his second shark attack yesterday is in a stable condition after undergoing a marathon surgery session.Greg Pickering, an experienced abalone diver, was mauled by a suspected great white at Poison Creek, about 160km east of
Esperance yesterday morning.
The father-of-four was flown to Perth in a serious condition last night with lacerations to his chest, arms and face.
He was taken into an operating theatre at Royal Perth Hospital about 10pm.
Fisheries officers are hunting the suspected great white shark that bit Greg Pickering on the face, chest and arms in remote but popular Poison Creek, about 160km east of Esperance.
In 2004, Mr Pickering survived an attack by a bronze whaler shark off Cervantes.
The father of four said then that he was lucky to be alive after he dived in to help a mate who was spearfishing to fend off the shark.
Shark tooth fragments were lodged in his shin when the 1.5m predator bit him twice.
In 2009, Mr Pickering and a colleague were rescued three hours after a wave capsized their boat about 20km off South Australia. He was diving 12m deep when the incident cut his air supply.
Yesterday, Mr Pickering, who was diving for company Southern Wild Abalone, was flown to Perth for surgery after hours lying injured in a boat, four-wheel-drive and ambulance to get to Esperance.
Company manager Marcus Tromp said Mr Pickering was conscious as colleagues tried to stem bleeding from "substantial injuries". He was told the diver was talking before a Royal Flying Doctor Service flight to Perth.
"Greg seems OK … He has lacerations but he's stable," he said.
"He's talking, he's conscious."
Mr Tromp said Mr Pickering's family in Perth, including four daughters, given the circumstances, were relieved.
He praised Mr Pickering's deckhand and two colleagues on another boat who gave him first aid and raced him to shore.
"It's been just as traumatic for them as for Greg," Mr Tromp said.
Mr Pickering has been a commercial abalone diver since 1980.
Former abalone diver Sean Flynn said his friend had "dodged a couple of bullets". "I wouldn't be looking for the third one," he said.
"But when it gets down to the nitty gritty, anybody in that industry runs the gauntlet of running into something you don't want to see."
Fisheries Department boss Stuart Smith invoked WA's extraordinary hunt-to-kill powers for only the second time because he feared there was "an imminent threat of further attack".Though conceding white pointers were difficult to catch, Mr Smith said it was the safest action because it was school holidays.