Local urges divers not to risk lives

GREAT WHITE SHARK: After a close encounter with a great white shark, Frank Payne has been building and designing shark cages for the past 30 years.
GREAT WHITE SHARK: After a close encounter with a great white shark, Frank Payne has been building and designing shark cages for the past 30 years.
SHARK CAGE: Frank Payne uses the first shark cage he designed.

SHARK CAGE: Frank Payne uses the first shark cage he designed.

DESIGN: Frank Payne's son Marc uses his latest shark cage design which features hydraulics.

DESIGN: Frank Payne's son Marc uses his latest shark cage design which features hydraulics.

With a spate of shark attacks in Western Australia in recent months, local Frank Payne said divers are risking their lives without the protection of a shark cage.

A former abalone diver, Mr Payne has been building and designing shark safety cages for 30 years.

He was prompted to build a shark cage after coming face to face with a Great White shark while working in the Archipelago of Recherche just off the southern coast of Western Australia,

As Mr Payne swam towards the ocean floor to collect abalone, he spotted the shark only metres away and in an effort to lose it he quickly swam to the bottom.

"First thing in the morning, I had a four metre white pointer try to get me off the bottom," Mr Payne said.

"Nobody knows the fear that goes through you when you've got a huge fish like that coming after you for breakfast.

"The things that go through your mind."

The shark brushed over the top of Mr Payne so he stabbed him in the belly with his abalone knife, but the shark didn't flinch.

"That's what scared me the most," Mr Payne said.

Read more in Tuesday's edition of the Whyalla News.