SYDNEY (AFP) – An Australian diver was killed by sharks in south Australia on Thursday, police said, in only the second fatal shark attack in Australian waters in more than two years.

The abalone diver was thought to have been returning to the surface after a dive when two sharks, believed to be great whites, took him, South Australia Police said in a statement.

The skipper on the boat witnessed the incident and returned to shore near Coffin Bay, around 300 kilometres (200 miles) west of the city of Adelaide, the statement added. No other details were immediately available.

In August, an Australian surfer died after being mauled by a shark off a Western Australian beach.

That death was the first since December 2008, when a man was attacked by a large shark, also believed to be a great white, off the Western Australia coast while snorkelling with his son, according to the Australian Shark Attack File.

Sharks are a common feature of Australian waters but fatal attacks are rare, with only 24 recorded deaths in the 20 years up to June 2009.