An Austrian tourist died Monday after being bitten by a shark while diving near the Bahamas in waters that had been baited with bloody fish parts to attract the predators.
Markus Groh, 49, a Vienna lawyer, was on a dive trip organized by a Florida company, Jim Abernethy's Scuba Adventures of Riviera Beach. He was bitten on the leg about 50 miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale. A Coast Guard helicopter flew Groh to a Miami hospital, where he died.
Scuba Adventures' Web site says it offers the opportunity to get "face to face" with sharks. To ensure "the best results we will be 'chumming' the water with fish and fish parts. Consequently, there will be food in the water at the same time as the divers. Please be aware that these are not 'cage' dives, they are open water experiences."
Abernethy's company has been cautioned by the Bahamas Diving Association to use more care on its excursions. The group sent him a letter last year asking him to stop diving for sharks without cages.
"Abernethy would not use a cage and this is the result,'' said Neal Watson, president of the Bahamas Diving Association. "It's total negligence."
Watson said Abernethy is known to work with species of sharks considered dangerous: lemon sharks, tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerheads.