Last Updated Oct 9, 2013 11:36 AM EDT
SYDNEY A diver bitten by a shark off Australia's southwest coast was recovering in a hospital on Wednesday after surviving his second shark attack in nine years.
Greg Pickering, 55, was diving for abalone off an area called Poison Creek near the Western Australia city of Esperance on Tuesday when he was attacked by what officials suspect was a great white. He underwent surgery and was in stable condition Wednesday, Royal Perth Hospital spokesman Matt Avery said.
It was the second time Pickering found himself in the jaws of a shark. In 2004, he was bitten on the leg while spearfishing near Cervantes, north of the Western Australia capital, Perth. In an interview from his hospital bed following that attack, the longtime diver told Australia's Ten News that the incident wouldn't stop him from getting back in the water.
"One incident has happened in 34 years," he said at the time. "I'd say that's very small odds."
Pickering suffered injuries to his head and face in Tuesday's attack, Royal Flying Doctor Service spokeswoman Carrie Parsons said. He was flown from a hospital in Esperance to the Perth hospital Tuesday night for surgery.
Dave Scholefield of the Australian Underwater Foundation said Pickering has "amazing abilities," according to the Australian newspaper.
"Everyone within the spearfishing scene pretty much agrees that the dude is nuts," Scholefield told the Australian. "He's blessed with a freakish ability. He just goes for it, headfirst."
Officials from the state Department of Fisheries were scouring the waters off Poison Creek on Wednesday trying to catch and kill the shark.
Sharks are common in Australian waters, though the nation has averaged just more than one fatal attack per year over the past 50 years.