View Full Version : Great White shark kills triathlete off California Coast

04-26-2008, 09:29 PM
Great White Shark Attack Kills Triathlete off California Coast

By Chris Dolmetsch

April 25 (Bloomberg) -- A retired veterinarian training for a triathlon off the coast of Southern California was killed by a great white shark today in the state's first fatal attack in almost four years.

Dave Martin, 66, was with a group of swimmers from a local triathlon training group when he was attacked at about 7 a.m. local time in the waters off Tide Beach, in the city of Solana Beach, officials said (http://www.ci.solana-beach.ca.us/newsdetail.asp?ID=188). Solana Beach, with a population of about 13,000, is about 30 minutes north of San Diego by car.

``We're all shocked and dismayed at the event that happened here this morning,'' Solana Beach (http://www.ci.solana-beach.ca.us/) Mayor Joe Kellejian said in a televised news conference.

There have been 96 shark attacks in California since 1926, seven of them fatal, according to the International Shark Attack File (http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Sharks/ISAF/ISAF.htm), maintained by the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Ten of those attacks were in San Diego County, with the only death coming in 1959. The last fatal shark attack in California was in Mendocino County in 2004.

Attacks by sharks in the southern part of the state are ``very rare,'' said Richard Rosenblatt, a professor emeritus of marine biology at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego (http://www.ucsd.edu/), although white sharks are known to swim from north of San Francisco to the Gulf of California, off Mexico.

Mistaken for Seal
``From our current knowledge, we think that there's not really a resident population of white sharks in this area but that the females come down from the north to pup, that is to give birth, so there are always going to be white sharks in the area,'' Rosenblatt said at the news conference. ``They're great swimmers.''
The shark was likely an adult female about 12 feet to 17 feet (3.7 meters to 5.7 meters) long, and probably mistook Martin for a seal, Rosenblatt said.
``We think it's mistaken identity,'' Rosenblatt said. ``The white shark hunting method is be down relatively close to the bottom and looking for silhouettes and then coming up to attack the seal. A human swimmer is not too unlike a seal.''
Fellow swimmers pulled Martin from the water, and he was taken to Fletcher Cove Lifeguard Station for treatment, where he was pronounced dead about 40 minutes later with ``severe injuries'' to both of his legs, said Solana Beach Deputy Fire Chief Dismas Abelman.
An 8-mile (13-kilometer) stretch of beach from Torrey Pines Beach north to South Carlsbad has been closed until April 28 while authorities watch for shark activity, Marine Safety Captain Craig Miller said.
Martin had lived in Solana Beach since 1970 and ``leaves behind a family and a lot of friends that loved him,'' a family friend, Rob Hill, said during the news conference.

04-26-2008, 10:09 PM
Seems like it was a long-shot for that attack to happen, but sad nonetheless. rip

04-26-2008, 10:43 PM
Wonder how many people are going to actually venture out into that water again in the near future?

04-27-2008, 11:46 AM
I think it's a big stretch of water there, surferman. Lots of people fish, boat, swim there everyday, from the way the article reads.

The chances of being killed in a shark attack compared to other things are small, though the odds weren't in favor of that guy. I think one report said they had wetsuits on, which makes you look like a seal underwater. That's one of the reasons why surfers get bit so much.

04-28-2008, 10:08 AM
It is reported that the shark probably thought he was a seal because there was a group of them in the water. The silhouettes gave the impression of a group of seals.

His son was on TV this morning and stated how he went surfing in the water yesterday. I am not sure if I would venture out there so soon after an attack.