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Shark Attacks on Humans (photos)
Shark Attacks on Humans
Statistics and shocking photos
Sharks have been living in the Earth’s oceans and seas for millions of years. Evolutionary changes typical for virtually all creatures on the planet have no power over sharks. They are predators as before, and some species pose a serious threat not only to ocean and marine dwellers but also to humans resorting in warm countries, on coasts of the World Ocean, which is home to sharks.
Among species most dangerous to humans, one can name tiger shark, great white shark, bull shark. Other species of these perfect killing machines also possess the unique ability to catch up on their prey under water in record short time while approaching very quietly, almost unnoticed. Sharks can always detect an easy prey close to them, and their powerful bite does not leave any chance to escape. The only way to survive is to give up a part of your body.
While deep waters are a hostile environment for humans, they are home to sharks who feel as queens living there. That’s why the shark will always dominate the human when they run against each other in the underwater kingdom. The human then has nothing to do but play the role of a terrified prey of this bloodthirsty monster.
The number of shark attack victims is ever growing
International Shark Attack File (ISAF) collecting shark attack data and investigating each accident reports about a hundred non-provoked attacks of underwater killers yearly. 10–15% of these attacks are fatal.
Australian surfboarder Bradley Smith was attacked by two great whites recently. The sharks were acting as if they had a plan: one of them seized the board while the other pulled the poor guy down into the water. Another accident followed soon, also in Australia. A shark stalked a 10-year-old boy on the beach and bit his arm off.
Mediterranean predators have also reminded of their existence. A shark attacked a swimming tourist on an Israeli beach and caused him severe injuries. Two great white sharks have been spotted near Turkey’s Black Sea coast.
Experts note that not only man-eating sharks can bite humans. Even sharks generally harmless to people might be provoked by intrusive divers, and this is also a rather painful experience. An incident like that occurred south of Newcastle in February 2004. Australian Luke Tresoglavic, 22, was snorkeling on a reef when he got attacked by a collared carpetshark.
The guy was trying to remove the predator holding tight to his arm for a couple of hours, but the shark wouldn’t let go. The snorkeler had to swim about 300m to shore, get in his car, and go to the nearest surf club to get help. Three lifesavers managed to loosen the grip and free the man’s arm.
Egypt resorts have also been scene to a great number of shark attacks recently. The first victims of killer sharks were three Russian tourists and one Ukrainian who swam in the sea near Sharm El Sheikh, popular Egyptian resort, in winter 2011.
Another attack followed in a couple of days. This time, it was a young German woman. The strangest thing about it was that attacks were made by an oceanic whitetip shark that had never been spotted in the coastal area before.
The first shark attack in Russia was registered on the Pacific coast in 2004. The first victim was Vladimir Skutelnikov, diver of Partizansky seiner. The man was working 30m underwater when a shark attacked, and was extremely lucky to escape by throwing his net over the shark’s head and jerking up to surface. However, the diver suffered acute stress and underwent a four-hour surgery on his leg in a Yuzhno-Kurilsk hospital. Moreover, he had a long-term therapy for severe caisson disease he had acquired due to a rapid ascent from a great depth.
You won’t probably meet a killer shark in Russia today, as these predators approach coastal areas extremely rarely. Even if they do, they most probably appear in the Japan Sea. This sea is a habitat to the following shark species:
Isolated incidents of these species attacking humans have been registered in Primorye. Thus, two unprovoked shark attacks on swimmers occurred in August 2011. The first to suffer was 25-year-old Denis Udovenko who was diving only 50m from the Khasansky District shore. Experts believe that it was a great white (appr. 5m long) that bit the guy on his thigh. Luckily, Denis was brought to hospital just in time to get surgery and be saved. Next shark attack on Valery Sidorovich, 16, took place in less than a day in the same Khasansky District. The teenager got serious injuries. After getting first aid provided by safeguards, the boy was delivered to a Vladivostok hospital on a speedboat. Doctors diagnosed multiple thigh tears and artery damage. In this case, it must have been a 3m shortfin mako whose tooth was found stuck in one of Denis’s wounds. However, Andrey Adrianov (Director of Institute of Marine Biology, Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences) suspects a young great white species of both attacks. It didn’t probably mean to kill its victims, it was just poking around in a new environment. It might have also confused the men for its usual food, sea lions and seals, and backed off when it realized it was wrong. All in all, Russian waters are generally considered to be safe in terms of possible shark attacks.
The way sharks attack…
Shocking photos of shark attack wounds are presented below. Judging by them, it’s limbs that suffer most from predators’ teeth. This is hardly surprising, as legs and arms are what humans basically use trying to fight off killer sharks.
Rather slight bites are not uncommon, but there are cases when sharks tear off the best part of a limb easily by breaking bones and muscles. Such wounds are usually typical of large shark species.
It should be said that most people don’t feel any pain losing their limbs, as if sharks injected a strong analgesic drug with the bite. People only say they felt a knock or a violent blow at the moment of attack. Victims realize what happened only when they see their bleeding limbs and blood spilling around. Doctors believe it to be posttraumatic stress disorder and say it was what made most survivals possible.
It is emphasized that sharks are mainly attracted by legs and arms moving in water. Try as they might, even professional swimmers don’t have the ability to keep up with sharks. Sharks perceive even the best sportsmen as helpless preys and stalk them smoothly, unnoticed. A human, especially if she or he is not aware of possible threat, just has no time to tuck or make some efforts to save oneself.
Yet, only big killer sharks normally attack abruptly, unexpectedly, and rather aggressively. Small species usually lie in wait before attacking, or approach their target circling smoothly around.
Sharks also differ in types of injuries they cause. Species like bull shark, great white, or tiger shark are considered to be man-eaters. They can bite a human in half with no effort, but most often they tear off a chunk of flesh or a limb from their victims.
Unlike them, blue shark, oceanic whitetip shark, shortfin mako, and other needle-toothed sharks can do nothing more than strip flesh from human bones. However, this is only true for small species, while large ones can easily rip a whole body apart.
What are the most dangerous beaches in the world?
Unfortunately, shark attacks have been reported from too many corners of the world. These predators have found their preys both in open sea and in coastal areas. There have even been attacks in river estuaries. Nevertheless, there is sort of a blacklist of beaches where risk of shark aggression is the highest.
New Smyrna Beach (FL, US)
This is the most attractive place for killer sharks. According to 2008 figures, 12 shark attacks were reported there, which is one third of the total number of shark attacks in Florida. Among victims, there have been surfers and swimmers who became prey to young six-gilled sharks. There have been no fatal incidents, as all sharks were hardly 1m long (rather small) and were happy with biting off various parts of human bodies. Sometimes sharks didn’t cause any severe injuries at all, as it may have seemed. Doctors insist though on calling for emergency aid in such cases, since sharks feed on just about anything and can easily infect their victims.
New South Wales beach (Australia)
A huge number of great white shark attacks have been registered between Bondi Beach and Byron Bayît (popular Australian beaches). Of 226 unprovoked attacks, 55 were fatal. Experts investigating this factor suggest that the problem lies in the proximity of continental shelf. The great depth on the shelf makes sharks come almost to shore in their search of food. Not long ago, a great white shark attacked a woman who had fallen from her surf board, bit off her arm, and caused her some other injuries. Another surfer was attacked here in 2007, near Port Stephens.
Second Beach, Port St. Johns (South Africa)
Tour operators often offer extreme adventure tours in South Africa. The favorite entertainment is shark cage diving, when people dive in a solid metal cage to observe great white sharks at a close distance. But no one can guarantee that a predator will come on stage when needed. To attract sharks, raw meat is dangled in water. This entertainment was born in 1992. The number of fatal shark attacks has largely increased since then. 23 people were killed by sharks in South Africa in less than 20 years.
Solana Beach, Fletcher Cove Park (CA, US)
California is second to Florida by frequency of shark attacks in the US. 142 unprovoked shark attacks have been reported there for the last century. Shark attack experts claim that this is due to excellent weather conditions and the long coastline of the state. Mother Nature has is so that fish choose places like that to give birth, as most of the fry survives here. Fish shed their eggs along the coastline, which lures great whites eager to enjoy the delicacy. The latest fatal shark attack was reported in 2008 on a triathlete.
Makena Beach (Maui, US)
37 shark attacks on humans have been reported from the tropical island of Maui. Only three of them were fatal, but one should always beware of tiger sharks in Hawaii coastal waters. These predators love the meat of turtles living in places of the highest tourist traffic. In 2006, a giant shark attacked a boat for fifteen minutes having mistaken it for a big turtle.
Pernambuco beach (Brazil)
Only since 1992, sharks have attacked surfers 18 times here, each attack being fatal.
Following these accidents, local authorities had to close the beach for a while, but now it is open again. Attacks are associated to excessive fishing. Local fishermen have been robbing sharks of their normal food and thus giving them a green light to hunt people. The latest deadly shark attack on surfer was reported in 2006 (a very short time after the beach reopened).
Sharm El Sheikh beach (Egypt)
Sharm El Sheikh, Egyptan resort, has been infamous for shark accidents lately. Five attacks by giant sharks followed one another in November 2010. Tourists were attacked by sea predators over the course of 6 days, culminating with a German lady being killed. The horrific wave of these attacks swept all over the world upsetting Russia the most, as three of the five victims were Russian.
Surf Beach, Vandenberg (CA, US)
Welcome back to California. This beach attracts big white sharks by its rookeries of seals and sea lions, which are the best available food for large sharks forced to migrate towards Santa-Barbara coastal area. Tiger sharks and great whites are always numerous in this region.
Garden Island beach (Australia)
Western Australia ranks the third by the number of shark attacks in the whole country. 41 attacks, of which 10 fatal, have been registered here lately. Most accidents happened around Garden Island. After a short pause, attacks resumed in 2008, when a big shark attacked a swimmer. Two years later, a great white attacked a tourist who was swimming with dolphins. This incident breaks the myth of feeling safe close to these friendly mammals, as sharks often hunt pods of dolphins to prey on the weakest of them.
Ponce de Leon Inlet (FL, US)
Ponce de Leon Inlet rounds out the top 10 most dangerous beaches of the world. This beach is located in a lagoon between estuaries of several rivers. Places like that are equally favored by surfers and spinner sharks. Sportsmen can easily catch a good wave here, and sharks can easily catch surfers and large numbers of fish.
23 shark attacks were reported from this beach in 2008 only. However, none of them were fatal.
Australia. Sharks protected by law
These predators are protected by law, despite the fact that shark activity is particularly high along Australia’s coastline. Thus, two attacks of awful creatures on humans were reported in May 2008. Although both attacks were nonfatal, Australian people will remember them for a long time. The first time, a giant 4m white shark attacked a swimmer. Then a similar monster attacked a school teacher who decided to dive far from shore. The teacher was saved by a 50-year-old woman who rushed selflessly to fight the beast. A minor surfboarder died from deadly bites in April of the same year.
12 unprovoked shark attacks occurred in Australia the year before. None of them were fatal, thanks to active involvement of swimmers resisting big monsters.
According to ISAF statistics, 329 shark attacks have been registered along Australia’s shoreline for the last 45 years, almost 50% of them (136 attacks) fatal.
Shark attacks in Hawaii
Willis McInnis and his friend Tina Cooper were on Kahana beach resort, Maui (Hawaii) on March 7, 2004. Young people decided to surfboard early in the morning. Willis was the first to go in the ocean, and Tina was watching her friend from shore, while preparing her board. The guy had caught a couple of nice waves before Tina joined him. That was when the accident happened. A thrilling cry burst through the sleepy surroundings. The girl rushed to her friend calling the few early bird surfers for help.
Tina was terrified by what she saw. Her friend was lying on surface, bleeding, his arm missing. The girl realized quickly Willis had been attacked by a shark and they had to hurry if they didn’t want the predators to come back to the smell of blood. Together with other surfers, Tina helped the bleeding guy climb on a board and pushed him to a safe distance, closer to shore. Later Tina noticed another big wound from shark’s teeth on Willis’s back. Willis was in a state of pain shock.
As they reached shore, Tina immediately called lifeboat service that arrived ten minutes later. Despite urgent efforts by doctors and safeguards, the guy only got worse and died before they brought him to hospital.
This accident led to enhanced surveillance by coastal and air rescue services. However, that killer shark was never spotted again around Kahana beach. A police officer said shortly after that the shark must have mistaken Willis for a big turtle due to gloomy weather and low underwater visibility. The monster didn’t come back for its prey after tearing off its leg, which only confirms the police officer’s version.
Statistics says sharks attack people about four times per year in Hawaiian Islands. Tiger sharks are considered to be the most dangerous ones. Large species can reach 4m and have a bite radius of 40cm.
Four shark attacks were confirmed in 2003. The most memorable one was on teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton who lost her left arm to a shark and nearly died from loss of blood while doing her favorite sport off Kauai’s north shore.
The last officially recorded deadly shark attack in Hawaii was on surfer Aaron Romento of Pearl City (Oahu Island) in 1992.
Miraculous escapes from sharks
According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, the likelihood of being killed by a shark is 1 in 3,748,067 (as compared to 1 in 79,746 for being killed by lightning). Nevertheless, dozens of people are killed or severely injured by these predators yearly. There is a widespread fear of being attacked by a shark, which sometimes develops into a real phobia. Meanwhile, only 7.3% of all shark attacks are fatal. In other words, shark victims mostly have a narrow escape of being eaten. The most miraculous survivals are described below:
Diving instructor Elysa Franckom, 20, was hosting a dolphin swimming tour near Perth, Western Australia, on October 30, 2010. As the girl was 7m under water, she was suddenly attacked by a 3m great white shark. The shark bit Elysa on her hip and buttock. A snorkeler, who wished to remain unnamed, rushed to help the instructor. He latched onto the shark’s tail and pulled it from its prey, after which the monster swam away.
A giant porbeagle attacked scuba diver Skott McNichol the day before in Maine, US. Scott was filming the ocean close to shore near Eastport. The man owes survival to his camera, as he used it to hit the shark on the snout when the jaws were already opened. Remarkably, the camera was recording, and now Scott has a unique video, apart from pride for his heroism.
Australian Puddy Trumbull, 60, was snorkeling off Whitsunday Islands in February 2010. The woman felt a strong jolt and then a tug before she saw the offender. As Puddy says, the shark was trying to get her under the water, and she had nothing to do but punch the kidnapper who had already tasted her blood on its nose as strongly as she could. People from a bypassing boat helped Puddy escape from the killer and took her to hospital later.
14-year-old Lydia Ward also fended off a shark in NZ in February 2010. When the shark sank its teeth into her thigh, the girl didn’t lose courage but started hitting the attacker on its head with her bodyboard. The shark backed off, and the girl got off with a few scratches and her wetsuit torn.
A fish cage cleaner got attacked by a shark near Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk a year before, in September 2009. The man was performing his duties, i.e. servicing scallop spat collectors, when the shark attacked him at 10m depth. He was saved by his mate who warded the predator off with a bar for collector cleaning. Another mate who was waiting in the boat said later that the boat was suddenly besieged by seven sharks, one of which started attacking its prey.
After the attack was turned off and the bar ripped the shark’s belly, the divers dragged the fish out on shore and measured the beast. It was 2.35m from nose to tail. As judged by descriptions provided by the men, it must have been a salmon shark or a mackerel shark. These species approach sometimes Sakhalin coastline to feed on spawning humpback salmon. Neither salmon shark nor mackerel shark does normally attack humans, so this attack might have been provoked by hunger.
Dolphins were a miracle that saved the life of young surfer Todd Andris in August 2007. When a 5m shark came on the 24-year-old surfer near one of California’s coasts, dolphins formed a protective ring around the guy and escorted him to shore where he was given first aid. The shark had only peeled some skin off Todd’s back and mauled one of his legs to the bone.
January 2007. Australia’s south-east, Cape Howe. Eric Nerhus (41-year-old diver) was diving at a shallow depth. A shark appeared from nowhere and came at his head. The monster had crushed Eric’s face mask and broken his nose when he punched his abalone chisel right into the shark’s eye. The man-eater had to retreat, and the man got pulled on the boat.
British photographer Jay Catherall was in South Africa on vacation. He was surfing when a shark attacked him, grabbed his buttocks, and pulled him under the water. The 32-year-old man whacked the shark with his fists and drove it away finally. Jay survived but had to spend a lot of time in a hospital, as he needed over 100 stitches.
Tips for surviving a shark attack
These tips are recommended by the Florida Museum of Natural History: