SHARK VOLUSIA Avon Sergei Zaloukaev Natalia Slobodskaya Jessie Arbogast David Peltier fatal attack New Smyrna Beach Ponce de Leon Inlet James Willie Tellasmon Thadeus Kubinski swimming surf scuba diver spearfishing 



The commercial fishing industry has changed the feeding patterns of the fish which are bringing the sharks to the beach in record numbers.

Please help David in the battle with Goliath. CLICK HERE

The link above is the best yet.




AVON, N.C., Sept. 5 —  Coast Guard patrols were expected again Wednesday out over North Carolina and Virginia, looking for large concentrations of sharks that could explain the attacks last weekend that claimed two lives and left a third victim fighting for her life.

  THE PATROLS on Tuesday saw only a few sharks. As a result beaches remained open, though officials advised swimmers to be cautious, especially near dusk and dawn when sharks seek food near shore.
       Still, the weekend tragedies seemed to have an effect.
       “A lot of people are scared. I haven’t seen anybody in the water,” Virginia Hawkins, manager of the fishing pier at Avon, N.C., said Tuesday. Avon, a remote town on North Carolina’s Outer Banks barrier islands, is near where the latest attack took place.
       The few who did venture in were hard-core surfers.
       “Sharks don’t scare me,” surfer Joey Blink, 19, said between rides. “You’ve got more of a chance of being in an accident coming down here than getting bit by a shark.”
       Two people who were on a sightseeing airplane ride just as the latest attack was occurring said they saw plenty of sharks near the beach where it happened.

 “We saw lots of sharks — big sharks,” said Pete Viele of Virginia Beach. “It’s freaky.”
       His companion, Sue Bader of Bethesda, Md., said she thought a warning should have been posted that day at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, where the attacks happened. Beaches in the park don’t have lifeguard stands; guards patrol the area by all-terrain vehicle.
       “I don’t care if it hurts tourism,” Bader said. “Let people know they are there so they can make their own choices.”
       In the North Carolina attack, a Russian couple from the Washington area was savagely bitten as they swam Monday evening in chest-deep water covering a sandbar.
       Lawrence Belli, superintendent of the park, told NBC’s “Today” show that while sharks are seen daily, none had ever been reported as attacking a human off the park’s shoreline.

     The last reported fatal shark attack anywhere in North Carolina waters came in 1957, according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File.
       The Outer Banks, a popular vacation destination, feature miles of dune-covered beaches and national parklands. Three types of sharks are common in the area: the sand tiger shark, bull shark and scalloped hammerhead.
       While records don’t indicate an increase in shark attacks this year over previous years, the North Carolina and Virginia attacks are unusual given that they happened in colder waters where sharks are less common. The warmer waters of Florida, in contrast, have the highest rate of shark attacks in the United States.
       The victims were identified as Sergei Zaloukaev, 28, and Natalia Slobodskaya, 23. The two were recently engaged.
       Dr. Jeffrey Riblet told “Today” that Slobodskaya’s left foot had to be amputated and that she had a large buttock wound. She has been communicating with her mother, he added, but he was not sure if she was aware of her fiancé’s death.
       She has been heavily sedated, Riblet said, and while recovery seems likely it will be “a long, slow road.”

       Monday’s attack followed one Saturday at Sandbridge Beach, Va. — near Virginia Beach and about 135 miles north of Avon.
Ten-year-old David Peltier was described as an “upbeat, happy-go-lucky” boy, about to enter the fifth grade. He was enjoying his last weekend of summer break at the beach Saturday when he was bitten in the leg while standing on a sandbar in about 4 feet of water 50 yards off the coast. The shark ripped a 17-inch gash in his left leg and released him from its grip only after the boy’s father hit the shark on the head. The father carried David ashore but the boy died hours later after losing large amounts of blood from a severed artery.
       The attack on Peltier was the first one in the area in 30 years and the first fatal one in the United States this year.

       Shark attacks first took the spotlight this year in early July when 8-year-old Jessie Arbogast had his right arm ripped off by a 6 1/2-foot-long bull shark off Florida’s Gulf Coast. His arm was reattached after a daring rescue by his uncle, but he remains in a light coma.
       The International Shark Attack File said only one death from a shark attack, in Brazil, had been reported this year before last weekend, compared to an average of eight per year in recent years.
       Before the two most recent attacks, 48 attacks had been reported worldwide, with 37 of those in the United States and 28 in Florida. That compares to 84 recorded worldwide last year, including 53 in the United States and 37 in Florida.


Human arm, leg found inside dead shark
Thai fishermen find human leg sticking out of the mouth of shark

BANGKOK, Thailand — Thai commercial fishermen unloading a catch found a human leg sticking out of the mouth of a shark, Thai police said Monday, June 17.

Fishermen made the grisly discovery when the trawler Veeraphap Poonphol 14 returned Sunday to its home port of Samut Prakan, 20 miles south of Bangkok. They also found a man's right forearm in the shark's stomach.

Lt. Col. Somchai Sopacharoen of Samut Prakan police station said that the 12-foot-long white shark was captured in Indonesian waters about a week ago by another boat that offloaded its catch to the Veeraphap Poonphol.

The limbs, which bore several bite marks, had just started to decay, indicating they had been in the shark's stomach one to two weeks, said Dr. Pattana Kitraj of the police Forensic Institute.

Pattana said he believed the shark ate the parts a day or two before being caught, after which the shark's carcass was kept in the ship's deep freeze.

The DNA of the limbs was to be tested in an effort to identify the victim, Pattana said.

Shark meat is a delicacy among Thais and other Southeast and Northeast Asians.


Possible 10th shark bite at Fla. beach

August 28, 2001 Posted: 1:04 PM EDT (1704 GMT)

Sharks have been spotted for several days off New Smyrna Beach.  

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- Volusia County Beach Patrol officers are investigating whether a 69-year-old man was bitten by a shark Monday afternoon, authorities said.

William Goettel was bitten on the left foot while wading in four feet of water at the south end of New Smyrna Beach.

He did not see a shark, but patrol officers at the scene said the wound looked similar to shark bites received by nine other people since August 18, said Beach Patrol Deputy Chief Joe Wooden.

Goettel was recommended to get stitches, but it is not clear whether he sought treatment, said Wooden. The injury was minor, he said.

The latest apparent brush with a shark happened five miles south of a one-mile stretch of New Smyrna Beach currently off limits.

Beach patrol officers decided to keep the strip south of the Ponce de Leon Inlet closed as a safety precaution for a fifth straight day after spotting 24 sharks during an afternoon helicopter flyover. Twenty sharks had been counted in a morning flyover.

Volusia County officials planned more flyovers Tuesday to re-evaluate the situation. The high number of sharks -- and the beach closing -- did not deter surfers from taking out their boards.

"We are strongly cautioning surfers, this is not the thing to do. But the decision is to not arrest the surfers, even if they've violated the beach closing. We are not in a confrontation with the surfers," David Byron, the county's community information director, told CNN. "The decision to close the beach is based solely on public safety," Byron said. "We are not reacting to pressure to reopen the beach."

The Volusia County Beach Patrol closed the strip Thursday after several people were bitten by sharks last week. In all, eight surfers and boogie boarders have been bitten near the closed beach area, and a ninth was nipped further north of the inlet. None of the injuries were serious.

The mile-long stretch of shoreline south of the Ponce de Leon Inlet is still open to sunbathers and pedestrians. The waters off Volusia County are home to many sharks year-round. But it is the larger-than-normal number of sharks clustered in one area that has the beach patrol worried.


We were out diving this day, twenty miles off the coastline. Check my report from the day at



Sharks bite 3 as surfers vie in competition

By Rene Stutzman and Jason Garcia |
Sentinel Staff Writers
Posted August 19, 2001

Sharks upstaged a surfing contest Saturday in New Smyrna Beach, nipping three surfers and causing a one-mile stretch of beach to be closed temporarily.

Two competitors were treated at a hospital, but no one was seriously injured, said Joe Wooden, deputy chief of Volusia County’s Beach Patrol.

"I got my hand mangled," said Jaison Valentin, 19, of New Smyrna Beach. He said the shark bit down as he paddled through the surf. Its teeth severed tendons and felt like "a bunch of knives coming in through my hand," Valentin said.

Jeff White, 20, also of New Smyrna Beach, said the shark that grabbed him was 5 to 6 feet long. "It put some nice gashes in my foot," White said. "It just felt like an immediate pressure on my foot, and actually, the pain was not too terrible."

Both men were taken to Fish Memorial Hospital. A third surfer whose name authorities did not know was treated at the scene for a bite to his foot.

Fourteen of the more than 30 shark attacks reported worldwide this year have occurred in Volusia, Wooden said. None of the attacks were fatal.

The inlet of New Smyrna Beach, site of the Saturday attacks, is "where the majority of all of our bites are," Wooden said. "It’s one of the top surfing areas."

It’s also an area with lots of bait fish, an attraction for hungry sharks. On Friday, the surf in the inlet also kicked up, making the water murkier and sharks more difficult to see, Wooden said.

"What happens is they are feeding on the bait fish that are coming in on the south side of the inlet," Wooden said. "The young sharks get into the wave action. They get disoriented in the waves, and they bite down on anything that moves."

On Saturday, about 200 surfers paddled out into that mix for the National Scholastic Surfing Association competition.

The first bite was reported at about 10 a.m. An off-duty lifeguard dressed the wound, and the unidentified man disappeared, Wooden said.

Shortly after Valentin was bitten, the Beach Patrol decided to close the beach, but before lifeguards could do so, White was attacked, Wooden said.

The beach was closed for about an hour, and when it reopened, lifeguards let swimmers only back in. They moved the surf competition down the beach about a mile, Wooden said. The tournament will resume there today.

Wooden was not sure what type of sharks were responsible but speculated it was 4- to 6-foot blacktip or spinner sharks, which typically feed in the inlet.

One of the surfers, Erie Peeples, 31, of New Smyrna Beach, said that in a two-hour period he saw a large number of small blacktips swimming in front of people along the beach in ankle-deep water. About 100 to 150 yards offshore, he started seeing bull sharks, the same type responsible for the devastating attack on a boy near Pensacola this summer.

"It was pretty crazy. I thought for sure I was getting bit. I mean, because they were all around us," Peeples said. "These were big, round, fat, black bull sharks . . . Everybody was scrambling for a wave to get in."

Schools of sharks spotted off Tarpon Springs last week and recent attacks on swimmers in Pensacola and the Bahamas have focused national attention on dangers in the surf, but experts insist that shark attacks are not on the increase.

Rene Stutzman can be reached at or 407-324-7294.

Jason Garcia can be reached at or 352-742-5926.

Copyright © 2001, Orlando Sentinel  

Boy's arm reattached after shark attack

July 7, 2001 Posted: 8:04 PM EDT (0004 GMT)

A lifeguard stands over the Bull shark that attacked an 8-year-old boy on Friday.  

PENSACOLA, Florida (CNN) -- Doctors successfully reattached the right arm of an 8-year-old boy Saturday, a hospital spokeswoman said, a day after a shark attack was halted by the boy's uncle, who wrestled the shark to the shore to retrieve the arm.

The boy was listed in critical condition Saturday.

He was attacked by a Bull shark Friday around 8 p.m. while swimming off the coast of the Florida Panhandle, according to Ranger John Bandursky of the Gulf Island National Seashore Park.

After the boy's uncle wrestled the shark onshore, Bandursky said, a park ranger then shot the shark three times in order to loosen its jaws and retrieve the boy's right arm, which was still inside the shark's mouth. The shark was killed and emergency medical technicians, who had arrived by that time, were able to recover the boy's arm.

Doctors at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola worked to reattach his arm during surgery that lasted about 12 hours, hospital spokeswoman Pam Bilbrey said.

Shark warning in Florida...07/04/00

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla., July 3 (UPI) -- Lifeguards are warning swimmers to look out for sharks in the Atlantic Ocean off Volusia County, Fla., Monday in the wake of two shark attacks.

Two teens are recovering from the bites they received Sunday while swimming in shallow water within a few yards of each other.

Danielle Schidemantle, 19, of Lake Mary, was bitten in her upper left thigh about 2:50 pm by a three-foot-long shark. She was treated and released at an area hospital. At 5:05 pm, 13-year-old Amber Benningfield of Bowling Green, Ky., was bitten in the left calf. She remains hospitalized in stable condition. Neither injury is considered serious.

Beach Patrol Deputy Chief Joe Wooden said the teens were probably bitten by young spinner or black tip sharks who were just learning how to hunt. Young sharks have a tendency to bite anything that moves, he explained.

This area on the north end of New Smyrna Beach near Smyrna Dunes Park is known by beach officials as a feeding area for sharks. It is also popular for many surfers.

No. 1 in shark attacks? Florida


An attack is frightful, but seldom fatal. You're more likely to win the lottery or be struck by lightning.

©Associated Press

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 9, 2001

Nearly half of the reported 79 shark attacks around the world last year occurred in Florida waters.

Florida had 34 unprovoked attacks, according to a report released Thursday by the International Shark Attack File. The file is a compilation of all known shark attacks since 1958 and is housed at the University of Florida.

Thadeus Kubinski of St. Pete Beach was one of 10 people worldwide to die of a shark attack last year, but the only fatality in the United States.

Kubinski died last August in Pinellas County after he jumped off his dock near a feeding bull shark in Boca Ciega Bay.

It was the Tampa Bay area's first fatal shark attack since 1981, when a swimmer was killed trying to swim between Anna Maria Island in Manatee County and Egmont Key on a bet. Kubinski's death was the first in Pinellas believed attributable to a shark since 1922, when 18-year-old Dorothy McClatchie was attacked by a "monster fish" while swimming near a channel buoy about a mile off an Atlantic Coast Line railroad pier in St. Petersburg, an area now called Demens Landing.

"(Florida) has a huge number of people in the water and the number of person-hours in the water is probably higher than anywhere in the world," said George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File in Gainesville. "We have a tremendously long coastline with tropical waters, a huge native population and a bigger tourist population."

Of the other nine fatal attacks, three occurred in Australia, two in Tanzania and one each in Fiji; Japan; Papua, New Guinea; and New Caledonia, the French island territory in the South Pacific.

The chances of dying from a shark attack are very remote.

"There is a much better chance of getting struck by lightning than being attacked by a shark," said Gary Violetta, curator of fishes at SeaWorld Orlando.

The United States had 51 unprovoked attacks, followed by Australia with seven, South Africa with five and the Bahamas with four.

In the United States, Florida was followed by North Carolina (5), California (3), Alabama (2), Hawaii (2) and Texas (2).

In Florida, Volusia County had 12 shark attacks, followed by Palm Beach County with six, Brevard County with four and Monroe County with three. Indian River and St. Johns counties each had two. Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, Santa Rosa and St. Lucie each had one.

More people spending longer hours in the water and a growing number of tourists swimming in exotic, unfamiliar locales contributed to the increase from 1999's 58 attacks, even though there are fewer sharks than 20 years ago, Burgess said. In addition, more attacks are being reported to the file because of the Internet.

Most shark attacks are the result of mistaken identity. Arms splashing in the water may be confused with a school of fish, or large bodies may be mistaken for sea lions or other prey.

"A shark comes in and is looking for prey. It bites, doesn't recognize the taste and keeps on going," Violetta said.

Although the chances of being bit by a shark are smaller than winning the lottery, if you do find yourself in a shark's jaws, the best thing to do is kick, punch or try to jab the shark in the eyes or gills, Burgess said.

"Sharks certainly do respect size and power," he said. "Whether that is kicking or beating on the animal, those are things the shark understands and respects."

Published Thursday, August 31, 2000, in the Miami Herald 

Man killed in apparent shark attack


A St. Petersburg Beach man swimming just off his bayfront dock not far from his wife was apparently grabbed in the chest by a shark and killed Wednesday afternoon.

St. Petersburg Beach Police Chief Fred Golliner said police will treat it as a shark attack, though a medical examiner will make the final ruling after an autopsy today.

The victim, whom Golliner did not identify, was in his late 60s and was swimming near the intracoastal waterway in three to four feet of water about 10 feet off his home on Boca Ciega Bay.

His wife was on land not far away, Golliner said.

St. Petersburg Beach is a barrier island community of about 10,000 on the southern tip of Pinellas County not far from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

``I've been 25 years in this city and never ever seen anything like this,'' Golliner said. The man's body showed signs of large teeth marks, ``and a lot of them,'' he said.

The chief said he would consult with shark experts to determine the size and type of shark.

The last person to die in a Florida shark attack was 9-year-old James Willie Tellasmon. He was bitten in half by what was believed to be a tiger shark in shallow water in the Atlantic off Vero Beach in November 1998.

If the St. Petersburg Beach incident is confirmed as a shark attack, it will be only the fifth shark attack fatality in Florida in the past quarter-century, according to the International Shark Attack File maintained by George Burgess of the University of Florida Museum of Natural History.

Thursday August 31 12:26 PM ET
Shark Kills Swimmer in Florida

by VICKIE CHACHERE, Associated Press Writer

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A man swimming in shallow water in the Intracoastal Waterway was killed in a shark attack witnessed by his wife.

Thadeus Kubinski, 69, was dead by the time emergency workers arrived Wednesday afternoon following the rare shark sighting in the waterway, St. Pete Beach Fire Chief Fred Golliner said.

Kubinski's son Edward said his mother, Anna, told him the couple went swimming in 5 feet of water about 10 feet off his dock in Boca Ciega Bay.

Mrs. Kubinski, who was too distressed to speak with the media, noticed her husband struggling with a marine animal and leaped out of the water to seek help. She told another son, Richard, she saw a dorsal fin that was ``just like the Jaws situation.''

``She was pretty much in a panic. She thought the best thing to do was to run and call for help,'' Richard Kubinski said.

The elder Kubinski suffered wounds from his armpit to his thigh. Authorities said they believe he was killed by a shark, although the medical examiner planned to consult with marine biologists for confirmation.

Edward Kubinski said his parents frequently swam in the shallow waters behind their home, where they have lived since 1984 after retiring from Enfield, Conn.

Authorities said they rarely, if ever, have seen sharks in the Intracoastal's waters.

``I've been working with this city for 25 years, and there has not been an incident involving an apparent shark attack in that time,'' Golliner said.

Neighbor Frank Reinhart, a resident of St. Pete Beach for 36 years, frequently swam in the waters near where the apparent attack occurred.

``I don't think I'm going to be swimming out there any time soon,'' Reinhart said.

The Intracoastal Waterway runs east of the barrier islands that separate the Gulf of Mexico from Florida's mainland near St. Pete Beach.

Wednesday's incident marks the first death in 22 shark attacks in Florida this year and the fifth fatality in the past 25 years, according to George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.


On the Net:

Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, International Shark Attack File:  

Alabama/The Mobile News

Two men injured in Gulf attacks by shark

Staff Reporter


GULF SHORES - The second-ever confirmed shark attack in Alabama waters took place Friday, costing a Robertsdale High School administrator much of his right arm and leaving an Orange Beach man with less-serious bite wounds.

The attack prompted state and local authorities to prohibit swimming from public beaches and to encourage swimmers to stay out of the water all along the county's 30-mile coast.

"The only way he's alive is he pulled his arm out of the shark's mouth," said Betsy Anderson, wife of victim Chuck Anderson, 44, assistant principal and former head football coach at Robertsdale High.

Richard Watley, 53, owner of Watley's Barber Shop in Orange Beach, had several puncture wounds in his hip and arm but there was no bone damage, a spokeswoman for South Baldwin Regional Medical Center in Foley.

Anderson had to have most of his right arm amputated because of extensive injury, the spokeswoman said.

"Barring any complications, he should be OK," she said, adding that Anderson was listed in serious condition.

Both men were in stable condition Friday night following surgery.

Experts theorized that a bull shark - or maybe more than one - bit the men because it mistook them for bait fish, which were reported to be schooling in large numbers close to shore at the time.

"These animals are feeding and they mistake people for bait because we have white skin, watches - things that flash. It is a misconception that sharks become man-eaters," said Vernon Minton, director of the marine resources division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

An airplane carrying biologists flew over the beach twice Friday looking for sharks and large schools of fish. Minton said such flights would continue twice a day until Gulf waters are considered improved enough to reopen the public beaches.

The two men were part of a group of people swimming about 6:30 Friday morning in the Gulf just east of the Gulf Shores public beach, in training for a triathlon, authorities said.

"He said he felt the shark come up under him. He thought it was a log or something. It brushed his legs under his body. The next thing he remembered was the shark took his right hand. He began to fight the shark and tell people that were with him to get out of the water," said Anderson's wife, Betsy, while in the hospital waiting room.

"He said it was six feet long. ... It took him under twice. He was fearful of drowning. He fought the shark and he tried to get back toward shore. As he did that, the shark continued to bite his arm."

The only other documented shark attack in Alabama waters occurred July 16, 1975, said George Burgess of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida.

But in that incident, William Wayne Daniels of Bay Minette, then 27, was about nine miles from shore when a shark grabbed him by the leg, Burgess said.

Gulf Shores Mayor David Bodenhamer and City Administrator Tony Rivera could not be reached for comment.

Several city officials declined to comment about the shark attack, saying Bodenhamer ordered that all information be released by Deputy Gulf Shores Police Chief Fred Beaman.

The swimmers were between 60 and 180 feet from shore, according to best estimates, Minton said.

Low morning light combined with cloudy water due to south and southeast winds also contributed to the unusual circumstances surrounding the incident, he said.

Hartley Frederick, assistant Gulf State Park superintendent, said he witnessed the "feeding frenzy" in shallow Gulf waters.

"As I was riding along the beach, I saw a lot of bait fish out there, along with bigger fish," he said.

Baldwin condos and hotels had not reported a noticeable number of people canceling vacation plans Friday afternoon, said Mike Foster, vice president of marketing of the Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau. Foster said that could change as the news spread over the next few days, but he wasn't sure what to expect.

"Based on what we were told, in a hundred years it's happened twice, but of course it is very unfortunate and we feel badly for them and their families," Foster said of the victims. "We're hopeful people won't consider the beach unsafe; this is a rare, fluke occurrence."

Although realizing that, it will be "a long while," before Cindy Parker and her family swim in the Gulf again. Parker, of Robertsdale, said she was preparing to dip in the water with friends Friday morning when she got the news.

They went anyway, but stayed on the beach at Gulf State Park.

"They would not allow anyone in the water and were bringing people out of the water," Parker said. "Some people thought they were joking. It's a shock when it hits so close to home. I will not let my kids go back in the water - it's going to be a while."

Conditions at the Gulf State Park pier seemed normal as of Friday afternoon, said Mike Guinn, pier manager and park ranger, who had been working all day to keep people out of the water - a task that wasn't as easy as might be expected.

"Some people have the mentality that 'nothing will happen to me, I'm invincible,'" Guinn said.

Parker said Robertsdale-area residents were praying for Anderson and his family, as well as Watley. The former head football coach at Robertsdale High is still known as "Coach Anderson" by students, who hold him in high regard, she said.

"He's just a well-respected man; the kids have always looked up to him, not only as assistant principal and coach, but as a man of integrity," she said. "He's very firm, but tries to equal things out for the kids."

Vance McCrory, who has known Anderson since they were children, said he expects the energetic athlete to get a prosthetic limb and "get back into it again." McCrory described Anderson as a strong individual who is outgoing, fun-loving and personable.

"He invited me to go swimming with him that morning, and I'm glad I didn't go, but this was a terrible thing to happen," said McCrory. He added that he and Anderson had gone swimming in the same spot a dozen of times in the last few months as part of their triathlon training routine.

One of the other swimmers, triathlete Karen Forfar, helped Anderson ashore, Betsy Anderson said.

"She walked him 100 feet or so up to a bench. He told her to get a tourniquet and call (the hospital) that he needed a helicopter. She was amazed at his presence of mind through the whole thing," Betsy Anderson said.

Johnny Altmyer of Gulf Shores, an acquaintance of Watley, said the barber and longtime Orange Beach resident had become a serious triathlete in recent years.

"They were practicing for a triathlon, which he did all the time," Altmyer said. "I've known him since the 1970s and he was anything but an athlete then. He was a wild and crazy guy. Knowing Watley, he'll have a vendetta against sharks."

A co-worker of Watley's at the Orange Beach barbershop, who would not give his name, said people had been calling all day for information and to express concern.

"He's just a good old dude - full of it, but a good old dude," the co-worker said.

Hundreds of people were in and out of South Baldwin Regional Medical Center on Friday to check on Anderson's condition and wish him and his family well, said the Rev. Wayne Ellis of Loxley, who works with Anderson at Robertsdale High.

"There were so many different stories, people wanted to find out what was really going on," said Ellis.

Ellis encouraged everybody to continue praying for the victims and their families.

"He's very fortunate and blessed that the shark didn't take his life," said Ellis, "and we're very grateful."

As news got out that Anderson was expected to recover, things settled down at the hospital by late afternoon, said Ellis. "Everyone is relieved now, calm."

Robert Shipp, chairman of the marine science department at the University of South Alabama and author of "Dr. Bob Shipp's Guide to the Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico," said when people are ready to venture back into the water, they should be a little wiser, but not have unrealistic fear.

"I would use caution. I wouldn't panic, but I'd use caution," Shipp said. "Use common sense. People in waist-deep water are probably safe, but I don't think I'd go out 100 yards off the beach.

"Right now, I would certainly caution people. We know there is one out there big enough to do this."

Anderson, also a former coach at Theodore High, said in 1999 interviews with the Mobile Register that he took up triathlons about six years ago and was using a February competition to raise money to help buy a 7-foot statue of a "Golden Bear" - the school's mascot - to be placed at Central Baldwin Middle School.

Anderson's hobby had spread to other teachers and school workers in central Baldwin County. Anderson told the Register that he got serious about fitness thanks to his daughter, Laura.

Anderson said he weighed about 260 pounds in 1993 when Laura, then 8, pronounced him "fat" and said she could outrun him any day - and promptly did.

"One day, I challenged my little girl (Laura) to a mile run and at the half-mile marker, she was running backward laughing at me," he said in the interview. "I ran for nine months - didn't miss a day after that."

(Baldwin Sports Coordinator Stu Babington and Staff Reporter Ben Raines contributed to this report.) <----------CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PAGE





Monday, July 03, 2000

Sharks Attack Two Young Women Off Florida Beach

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - Sharks attacked and injured two young women in separate incidents in the waters off New Smyrna beach just south of Daytona Beach, Florida, officials said Monday.

Danielle Shidemantle, 19, of Lake Mary, Florida, was briefly hospitalized and then released after what was described as a 3-foot shark sunk its teeth into her thigh and then let go in the early afternoon Sunday, Volusia County Deputy Beach Chief Joe Wooden said.

Barely two hours later, in a more serious incident, a shark bit Amber Benningfield, 13, from Bowling Green, Kentucky, in her calf. The girl underwent surgery Sunday and was listed in stable condition Monday, hospital officials said.

The girls were both swimming with friends on the beach's northern end when young sharks, most likely black tip or spinner sharks, bit them.

"They're learning to hunt, to eat fish," Wooden said of the sharks. "They get disoriented and start biting down on anything that moves. When they bite down and realize it's not something they usually eat, they let go."

Neither species are man-eaters, Wooden said, adding that young sharks learning to track down bait fish, which swim in large schools at New Smyrna Beach, are easily confused by shallow waters and flurries of activity.

About 10 million bathers flocked to the 47-mile-long white sand beach last year, Wooden said.

Last year, Volusia County had the highest incidence of shark attacks in Florida, the state with the highest incidence of shark attacks in the United States, which in turn is the country with the highest incidence of shark attacks in the world, according to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) compiled by researchers at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Of the 58 unprovoked shark attacks reported worldwide in 1999, 37 occurred in the United States, 25 in Florida, and 9 in Volusia county, the ISAF found.

Wooden said as far as he knew, none of the attacks at New Smyrna have ever resulted in death.






between 7-1-00 and 7-9-00  ???

Shark Attacks Girl Off Outer Banks

PINE ISLAND, N.C. (AP) - A girl vacationing with her family on the Outer Banks was attacked by a shark in shallow water, leaving her with a 9-inch crescent-shaped gash that required more than 300 stitches.

"I thought that someone was grabbing me," 12-year-old Ashley Walker of Chillicothe, Ohio, said Friday of the attack off Currituck a day earlier. "It didn't really hurt."

Ashley had never seen the ocean until she arrived here July 1 with a group of 15 friends and relatives who rented a cottage on the northern barrier island.

She was playing in the surf at about 4:30 p.m. when she felt something brush against her, and then a tug. Blood filled the water, but she didn't realize how badly she'd been hurt until she reached the shore and saw the gash on her right calf.

Marshall Cherry, Corolla fire chief and director of Corolla Ocean Rescue, said no one saw the fish, but a doctor and emergency personnel had little doubt it was a shark.

"We are assuming it's a tiger shark," Cherry said. He guessed the shark had been following fish that came in with Gulf Stream waters and got closer than usual to shore.

Ashley sustained no torn muscles or ligaments and is expected to make a complete recovery, said her mother, Wanda Walker. But Ashley said once was enough for her.

"I'm not going back in," she said.

7-9-00   ???

Florida Man Hurt in 3rd Shark Attack in Eight Days

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - A shark attacked a surfer and twice gashed his leg in shallow Atlantic waters near Daytona Beach in the Florida county with the highest incidence of shark attacks in the nation, authorities said on Monday.

Anthony Zent, 41, of Holly Hill, Florida, was surfing on Sunday at Ormond Beach, five miles (eight km) north of Daytona, when a shark bit his right leg two times, tearing a 15-inch (38-cm) gash above his knee and a 12-inch (30-cm) wound in his calf, Deputy Beach Patrol Chief Mike Hensler said.

Bystanders bound Zent's injured leg with towels and he was taken to Halifax Medical Center where he underwent surgery, Hensler said. Zent was in satisfactory condition on Monday, hospital officials said.

Zent was the third person to be bitten by a shark in Volusia County in eight days and the seventh victim this year. Last Sunday sharks attacked two teen-age girls in separate incidents.

Hensler said shark bites are normally the work of young sharks learning to hunt fish. "They follow their meal ticket," he said. "But they're immature and they have poor discretion about their feeding habits."

Sunday's attack was unusual, Hensler said, because the shark bit twice, whereas young sharks normally unclench their maws as soon as they realize their victims are not bait fish.

In 1999 nine people were attacked by sharks in the county, which reports the highest number of shark attacks nationwide, according to the International Shark Attack File of the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Hensler said Volusia County beaches, which stretch along 47 miles (76 km) of Florida's coastline and attract 10 million bathers a year, are temporarily cleared but rarely closed in the event of a shark attack.

"The ocean is their home and there are sharks everywhere," he said. "It's not really a shark attack but a shark mistake."

Young boy killed in Florida shark attack

Tellasmon was swimming at this beach when attacked by a shark  
November 23, 1998
Web posted at: 10:15 p.m. EST (0315 GMT)

VERO BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- A 9-year-old boy was attacked and killed by a shark while swimming about 40 yards from shore, the first such fatality in Florida in a decade, authorities said Monday. James Willie Tellasmon, who was at the beach with his mother and a family friend, died Saturday near Ocean Beach at Jaycee Park, some 70 miles north of West Palm Beach along Florida's east coast. One police officer said the family friend, an adult male, went into the water to try to save the boy. But the mother saw that he, too was in trouble, and yelled for help. Another man went in and pulled the family friend out. Authorities used a police helicopter and all-terrain vehicles to search the beach, while a fire department dive team searched the water for Tellasmon. His body was finally recovered after the sun came up Sunday. Medical examiner Dr. Frederick Hobin said the boy died as the direct result of an attack by a large shark, although he couldn't determine what kind of shark or its specific size. "As best I can tell, the injuries are the cause of the death. There was extensive bite injury with tissue loss associated," Hobin said. "I would say that all parts of the body were affected." Police Chief Jim Gabbard estimated that the attack occurred about 40 yards from shore. "Witnesses said he started to flail, and then he was gone," Gabbard said. "He just went under."Authorities recovered only the boy's torso and legs, Gabbard said.

Dangerous time of year

"This is the time of year when the water temperature starts changing and the migratory fish begin to move through the area," Gabbard said. "There's lots of bait fish, and they're close to shore. The predators ... are all where the bait fish are." A 13-year-old boy was bitten by a shark on November 11 near where the latest attack occurred. "Shark bites are fairly common," Gabbard said. "But most ... bite and let go." George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida, said the last shark attack fatality was in the summer of 1988, when a man jumped off a boat. The last fatal attack so close to shore likely was more than 20 years ago, Burgess said. About 25 non-fatal shark attacks occurred in Florida last year, compared with 13 in 1996, Burgess said. He did not have figures for this year. Volusia County led the state in shark attacks last year, with 14. Most occurred in Ponce Inlet, a popular surfing spot on Florida's east coast, according to a University of Florida study released in June. Flagler, Broward, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Martin counties also had their share of attacks, but Indian River County, the scene of the most recent incidents, didn't record any last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Shark sinks teeth into teen all the way to hospital

April 17, 1998
Web posted at: 10:47 p.m. EDT (0247 GMT)

MARATHON, Florida (CNN) - A shark bit a teen in waters off the Florida Keys this week and remained clamped to his chest even as the victim was rushed to a hospital.

Kevin Morrison, 16, Rockford, Illinois, was scuba diving with his father near Marathon in the Florida Keys, when he saw a three-foot nurse shark swimming near him and grabbed its tail.

The shark bit Morrison's chest so tightly he was rushed to Fisherman's Hospital near Marathon with the creature still attached. Doctors were forced to split the sharks' spine to unlock its jaw. The boy was later treated and released.

The Florida Marine Patrol said nurse sharks swim slowly and can appear to be harmless, but they can be dangerous and should be avoided.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

British visitor reports shark attack on Bonita Beach


Saturday, November 18, 2000


Fritz Hofmann had just set off for a leisurely walk on Bonita Beach on Friday afternoon when he saw his friend Colin Shadforth waving him over to where he stood just offshore.

"I thought he just wanted to show me something," Hofmann said.

Shadforth, 73, indeed had something to show - the injury where a shark bit his calf in less than 3 feet of water.

Shadforth, who was visiting from Great Britain, was flown to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers and was discharged early Friday evening. The attack was reported to the Bonita Springs Fire and Rescue District at 1:17 p.m.

Fire Capt. Tim Beitz said Shadforth's injuries appeared to be a shark bite, but he couldn't tell for sure.

"He had lacerations and puncture wounds just below the knee," Beitz said.

Shadforth told Hofmann he noticed a dark shape in the water below him just before it began tugging on his leg. Hofmann said he helped his friend out of the water as his wife, Rosemarie, ran to a nearby condominium's pool area, gathered towels to wrap Shadforth's leg with and shouted at someone to call 911.

"He was very brave," Rosemarie Hofmann said. "Because he's a doctor, he knew exactly what to do. He lost a lot of blood and his face was very white."

Shadforth is a frequent visitor to his condominium at Dolphin Way. George and Sandy Larsen have managed the Dolphin Way and Casa Bonita condominiums for 11 years. They said this the first shark attack they have heard of near their property on the northern tip of Little Hickory Island.

The last shark attack in the area was reported in July 1996 when an 8-year-old German girl was bitten while swimming near Wiggins Pass.

As breakers gently lapped the sand nearby, the Hofmanns said they had never worried about shark attacks during their many winter visits from Switzerland. Still, he and his wife will be staying out of the gulf for a few days.

"We won't go in again today or tomorrow," Fritz Hofmann said. "We usually swim two or three times a day."

Although most shark bites happen in the summer, a winter bite is not unheard of, said Dr. Bob Hueter, director of shark research at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. Hueter said such incidents are extremely unusual for this part of Florida and should not keep beachgoers out of the water.

"This is a very rare thing," he said of the Bonita Beach incident. "For it to happen in winter is even rarer. I wouldn't be concerned whatsoever."

Hueter said an average of 20 to 25 shark bites are reported in Florida each year, but the majority - 60 percent to 75 percent- occur on the state's east coast.

Hueter said the International Shark Attack File, an official register of information on confirmed, unprovoked shark attacks between 1882 and today, lists 404 incidents in Florida.

Of the 404 attacks, Hueter said six bites happened in Collier County and two were reported in Lee. None were fatal. Those numbers are small compared to Volusia County, home to Daytona Beach, with 106 recorded attacks, Hueter said.

While it's not confirmed that Shadforth was bitten by a shark, Hueter said if the attacker was indeed a shark, it was likely either a 3- or 4-foot-long juvenile of a larger species like a blacktip. Or the shark could have been a small coastal species like a sharpnose or a blacknose that never grow larger than 3 or 4 feet long.

Hueter said sharks are migrating south toward the Florida Keys, and "eating on the run." He said the attack may have resulted if Shadforth accidentally spooked the shark.



Hit Counter