Search for scuba diver Gary Johnson is called off after he was mauled by shark

The search for a man who was mauled by a shark while scuba diving off the southern coast of Western Australia has been called off, police have said. 

Gary Johnson, 57, was attacked by a great white shark on Sunday while diving with his wife Karen Milligan near Cull Island, close to West Beach in Esperance.

Only Mr Johnson's tank, vest and flippers have been found during days of extensive searches, which included using two remote-operated vehicles to scour the ocean floor. 

Police announced on Wednesday they have suspended search operations pending any new information.

Police have called off the search for the body of scuba diver Gary Johnson (pictured with his wife Karen) after he was mauled by a shark near Cull Island, close to West Beach in Esperance, WA on Sunday

Police have called off the search for the body of scuba diver Gary Johnson (pictured with his wife Karen) after he was mauled by a shark near Cull Island, close to West Beach in Esperance, WA on Sunday

Three sharks (two pictured) were found feeding on a human corpse during the search for a diver who was mauled to death by a great white near Cull Island, close to West Beach in Esperance, WA, on S

Three sharks (two pictured) were found feeding on a human corpse during the search for a diver who was mauled to death by a great white. The remains are believed to belong to another person

Ms Milligan had put out a mayday call and unsuccessfully tried to fight off the massive sea creature as it attacked her husband. 

She was then taken to hospital to be treated for shock.    

In an emotional statement following his death, she described Mr Johnson as her 'rock' and said he was at home in the ocean.

'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,' she said.

'We were completely against shark culling and I still am.'

The announcement comes after three sharks were found feeding on a human corpse at Twilight Beach, near Esperance on Tuesday afternoon. 

Witnesses believed the body belonged to Mr Johnson, but police said the remains belong to a 21-year-old man who disappeared after being swept off rocks on January 2.    

South African tourist Michael Hayes described the horror of watching the sharks launch themselves at the body. 

'The sharks took it up and then we could see it was a torso... Then we knew it was a body. They started a feeding frenzy. It was horrible,' he told The West Australian.    

The gruesome discovery was made amid the search for Gary Johnson, who was taken by a great white while diving with his wife (pictured together) at nearby West Beach on Sunday

The gruesome discovery was made amid the search for Gary Johnson, who was taken by a great white while diving with his wife (pictured together) at nearby West Beach on Sunday 

Mr Johnson (pictured) was a recreational diver who loved to share his passion for the ocean

Mr Johnson (pictured) was a recreational diver who loved to share his passion for the ocean

His daughter Alison Walker, who immediately called police, said she initially thought the body was a buoy. 

'We were like ''oh a buoy would stay in one place''…it's a body. [The sharks] were knocking it onto the rocks. It like started turning around and then we could see it was the head and the legs,' she said.     

Swimmers were evacuated from the water and the beach was closed. The body has since been recovered. 

Aerial footage showed the sharks from above lurking about 150 metres off shore.

Twilight Beach was closed on Tuesday afternoon after sharks were spotted feeding on a human corpse

Twilight Beach was closed on Tuesday afternoon after sharks were spotted feeding on a human corpse  

Meanwhile, a search was underway for the body of Mr Johnson. 

His heartbroken wife Karen Milligan revealed this week she desperately tried to fight the great white shark as it mauled her husband moments after he jumped into the water. 

'We were both in the water when it happened, I tried to hit the tail of the shark but it did nothing,' Ms Milligan told The Australian.  

Ms Milligan said she and her husband were both wearing shark shields, which emit electrical currents intended to scare the animals away, when he died. 

Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley confirmed on Tuesday Mr Johnson's device wasn't switched on when he was attacked. 

On Monday, Ms Milligan shared a gut-wrenching tribute to 'her rock' just 24 hours after his death. 

'Gary was my rock. He was a kind, gentle, strong man. 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,' Ms Milligan said. 

The couple ran the Esperance Dive Club together. It was their shared passion for the water that saw their relationship blossom.

'He loved diving. He loved squash. He loved his work. He loved Esperance. Most of all he loved his friends and families,' she said.

Aerial footage showed the sharks from above lurking about 150 metres off shore, with one stalking a boat (pictured)

Aerial footage showed the sharks from above lurking about 150 metres off shore, with one stalking a boat (pictured)

Emergency services are still desperately searching for missing diver Gary Johnson who was taken by a shark off Cull Island in WA on Sunday

Emergency services are still desperately searching for missing diver Gary Johnson who was taken by a shark off Cull Island in WA on Sunday

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