As debate rages about how to make WA beaches safe after the fatal shark attack on surfer Ben Linden on Saturday, Bernie Williams and Brian Cleaver cannot help thinking of their own harrowing experience with a great white and the value of the device Mr Williams believes saved his life.
In 2006, Mr Williams was diving with Mr Cleaver and another friend, Jenni Parker, when he was mauled by a 4m white pointer about 5.5km off City Beach.
He was struck from below and on his side, with the impact forcing him at a rate of knots through the water and leaving him with gashes on either side of his left elbow.
Apart from the spear gun he was holding, which helped lessen the blow, Mr Williams is adamant his friends and the shark shield Mr Cleaver was wearing were the only things that saved him.
The devices work by emitting electronic pulses that disrupt a shark’s senses and Mr Cleaver says the great white fled when he approached.
Mr Williams said yesterday he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Mr Cleaver said people should get a shark shield, which cost about $700, to put their minds at rest.