An old woman who was apparently just having a good time diving the beach has ended up being killed by a huge shark.
The British grandmother described as a ‘beautiful person who everyone loved’ has been killed by a great white shark which was ‘bigger than an 18ft boat’ while diving off the coast of Australia.
Doreen Collyer, a 60-year-old University lecturer, who is originally from Chester, Cheshire, was at a reef off Mindarie Beach, about 35 kilometres north of Perth, when she was attacked yesterday.
Her husband David had been driving to the beach to meet her and her diving companion, John, when he saw helicopters hovering overhead. He arrived at the boat yard to be told by paramedics that his wife had been killed.
Police said 43-year-old John, who Mrs Collyer dived with regularly, pulled her from the water but she died before they made it back to shore.
Her injuries were described as being ‘apparent and severe’ and consistent with a shark attack.
Three men who came to the pair’s aid reported seeing a shark which was longer than their 18-foot long fishing boat. Local authorities have now closed the surrounding beaches until the animal is caught. Police say it will be shot dead.
Paying tribute to his ‘loving wife’ today, Mr Collyer said the pair – who have two children together and a granddaughter called Daisy – moved to Australia about five years ago to be closer to their son and grandchild.
Speaking from their home in Iluka, New South Wales, today, he said: ‘Doreen was a beautiful person and everyone loved her, she was a devoted grandmother, mother and loving wife.’
He said she had been a keen swimmer in the UK, but fell in love with diving when they moved abroad. She had an advanced open water diver’s certificate and used to dive up to four times a week in the summer.
Mr Collyer learned his wife had died after arriving at the boat ramp to meet her yesterday afternoon.
He said he saw helicopters circling overhead as he approached the beach and discovered it was his wife who had been attacked when he was greeted by the emergency services.
He added that it was the first time in weeks she had been out diving due to recent bad weather.
Mrs Collyer and her diving partner had been to the reef where she was attacked about a ‘dozen’ times before. They were searching for crayfish and had only been in the water about 25 times when John felt the shark ‘brush past them’.
He returned to the surface and realised Mrs Collyer – who he described as a ‘phenomenal’ diver – had been attacked. He tried to comfort her and bring her ashore, but she died while still at sea.
Mrs Collyer had been working as the Director of Postgraduate Studies and a lecturer with the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Edith Cowan University in Perth.
The university’s acting vice chancellor Professor Arshad Omari described Mrs Collyer as a ‘much-loved and respected colleague, mentor and teacher’ in a statement issued to staff today.