First fatal U.S. shark attack in three years

Posted By on April 25, 2008

Solana Beach CAA shocking day for those who love the oceans and beaches along the U.S. coasts as the first fatal shark attack in 3 years happened in an area rarely seeing sharks. Dave Martin, a 66 year old tri-athlete training veterinarian from San Diego, was swimming with a group of 9 at 7:30 AM about 150 yards offshore (see Triathlon Club of San Diego) and was attacked by what experts conclude is probably a 12 – 17 foot Great White Shark. The attack was characteristic of this species coming up swiftly from below with violent impact, as is their pattern when hunting seals. In Mr. Martins case, the powerful bite injured both legs and forced him first up out of the water and then struggling before other swimmers could get to him. His fellow tri-athletes quickly brought him to shore where rescue workers administered first aid. Martin suffered severe damage to both legs and blood loss was significant. The shark did not return.

Great White Shark
The attack occured in Solana Beach which is 14 miles northwest of San Diego California and rarely sees any sharks let alone a Great White of this size, although experts say that the female do swim to the southern California area to have babies. Great White Sharks are far more common in the area off San Francisco, but are known to travel significant distances. The beach along this area of California have been closed for 72 hours and an aerial search is underway. (although it is unlikely to come up with anything)
jawsIn the U.S. and the world, shark attacks are extremely rare. There were only 71 confirmed unprovoked cases worldwide and 63 in 2006, and only of these attacks was in 2007 was fatal — and that was in the South Pacific. The last fatality in California was in 2004 where a man skin diving was attacked by a Great White of the coast in Mendocino County. In the San Diego area the last fatal attack occur in 1994, and a 29 year veteran life guard along this stretch of beach says he has never even seen a Great White. Still, we humans have an instinctive fear of sharks, perhaps triggered by their image and their legend.

Fatal Shark Attacks In U.S.
Jamie Marie Daigle, 14, killed June 25, 2005,
by a bull shark while swimming off a beach in Destin, Fla.
Randy Fry, 50, killed Aug. 15, 2004,
by a great white shark while diving off the coast of Mendocino, Calif.
Willis McInnis, 57, killed April 7, 2004,
by a tiger shark while surfing off the coast in Maui, Hawaii.
Deborah Franzman, 50, killed Aug. 19, 2003,
by a great white shark while swimming off Avila Beach, Calif.
Eric Reichardt, 42, drowned Sept. 16, 2001,
in a suspected shark attack off Pompano Beach, Fla.
Sergei Zaloukaev, 28, killed Sept. 3, 2001,
off the coast of Avon, N.C.
David Peltier, 10, died after a Sept. 1, 2001,
attack while surfing at Sandbridge Beach, Va.
Thadeus Kubinski, 69, killed Aug. 30, 2000,
by a bull shark while swimming in Boca Ciega Bay in Florida.
James Tellasmon, 9, killed Nov. 21, 1998,
by a tiger shark while swimming off of Vero Beach, Fla.
William Covert, 25, killed Sept. 13, 1995,
while diving off Alligator Reef in the Florida Keys.
James Robinson, 42, killed Dec. 9, 1994,
in a great white shark attack while diving off San Miguel Island, Calif.
Michelle von Emster, 25, killed April 16, 1994,
by a great white shark while swimming off Point Loma near San Diego, Calif.


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