Wife of shark attack victim makes emotional plea

Gary Johnson with his partner Karen Milligan.  Photo: supplied
Gary Johnson with his partner Karen Milligan. Photo: supplied

THE wife of a WA diver killed by a shark south of Esperance on Sunday has issued an emotional statement about his love of the ocean.

Gary Johnson had just suited up and entered the water when he was attacked about 1pm on Sunday near Cull Island, close to West Beach in Esperance.

His partner, Karen Milligan, issued a mayday call but Mr Johnson was unable to be reached.

In a statement, Karen said she and Mr Johnson were completely against shark culling.

“Gary was my rock. He was a kind, gentle, strong man,” she said.

“He only ever saw the best in people. He will be so truly missed by me, by his family and his friends and the world will be a poorer place without this most beautiful man.

Gary Johnson with his mother, brother and sister. Photo: Supplied

“He loved diving. He loved squash. He loved his work. He loved Esperance.

“Most of all he loved his friends and families.”

Ms Milligan said she and Gary felt “at home in and on the ocean”.

“We would go out diving in our boat whenever we could, most weekends,” she said.

“We took photos, not fish. We were always aware of the risks, and often told each other that if we were attacked by a shark, that would just be unlucky.

“We were completely against shark culling, and I still am.

“We have watched with dismay the reduction of fish stocks over the years.

“We believed that if fish stocks were better protected, then the risk to people in the water would be reduced.

“Gary’s vision was to have a marine park in the Esperance area.”

Specialist water police divers are continuing to search the ocean for Mr Johnson.

The divers are being supported by Marine Rescue WA volunteers and the Department of Fisheries.