Australia shark attack victim identified as Texan George Thomas Wainwright, 32


A beach at Rottnest Island, near Perth, Western Australia, where Texan George Thomas Wainwright was taken.


7 News

The American scuba diver taken by a shark off Western Australia's Rottnest Island has been identified as 32-year-old Texan George Thomas Wainwright.

Wainwright mother, Sharon Wainwright, of Panama City, Florida, ID'd him Sunday, CNN reports.

Wainwright told CNN that her family was notified Saturday morning of the attack — the third assumed great white attack in WA in less than two months, and fourth in just over a year. They expected his body to arrive in Florida in about four days, she said.

Wainwright had been living in Western Australia

Meanwhile, the inevitable sensationalism has begun, with news outlets speculating that so many attacks so close together may mean something other than a tragic coincidence arising from humans venturing into waters patrolled by more numerous predators than we'd like to imagine.  

The Associated Press raises "the specter of a rogue man-eater preying on a renowned aquatic playground," though it saves face by quoting scientists as saying three different sharks are more likely responsible."

"This is a unique set of circumstances, and I'm desperately ... praying this is not the beginning of a new trend ... and we're going to have these on a regular basis," the AP quotes Western Australia state Fisheries Minister Norman Moore as saying Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald — which quotes WA fisheries principal research scientist Dan Gaughen as saying there is no evidence linking the same shark to all three recent attacks — suggests that the latest attack "has begun to fuel fears of a deadly new trend of great white attacks along the state's south-west tourist strip."

The paper points out that sharks kill fewer than one swimmer a year on average in Australian waters. 

Yes, three in such a short period of time is unusual from a historical perspective, but a trend? 

Anyone else hear Sheriff Brody in the back of their mind saying : "We're going to need a bigger boat"?