Swimmer Attacked by Great White off Cape Cod
August 01, 2012
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Authorities are reporting that a man was attacked by a great white shark at a beach on Cape Cod, Massachusetts on Tuesday.
Christopher Myers and his son JJ were swimming approximately 80 yards off Balston Beach in Truro, MA headed for a nearby sandbar when he was bitten on the lower portion of his legs.
His son JJ told Good Morning America:
"I heard him scream and turned around, and saw the back and the fin of the shark up out of water," he said. "At that point it hit me when it was happening. But at the same time, I thought that none if it was real. It really seemed like a movie. None of it seemed real until I was on the beach."
The shark then released Myers giving father and son the opportunity to flee towards the beach.
"We really didn't have a lot of options," Chris Myers said. "We were motivated, so we swam, hard. I was thinking as I was swimming, my lungs were fine, my kick was fine, I was starting to feel kind of dizzy and wondering if I was losing blood. My concern was that I wouldn't make it back to the beach."
Several witnesses reported seeing a dorsal fin break the surface in close proximity to Myers before the attack.
“We were watching,” Walter Palmer of Philadelphia told the Cape Cod Times. “A very large black dorsal fin came up between the two of them. A lot of people saw it. They started swimming back. The son was calling for help. I’m not an expert on shark fish. It was not a seal.”
Another witness on the beach said, "They dragged him out and they had to carry him up here and they had to wrap it around his legs and he was bleeding through the gauzes. It was bad. Both his legs were pretty bad."
Great white sharks have been a hot topic on Cape Cod this summer. In recent years booming seal populations are thought to be attracting the large predators. Massachusetts fishers are currently tracking nine animals that they know about.
"We do have a shark season here in New England," Greg Skomal Senior Fisheries Scientist at the Massachussets Department of Marine Fisheries told CNN. "As the waters warm during the summer months, the sharks arrive … (attracted to) where there's a robust grey seal population."
Three weeks ago a kayaker was chased by a great white off Chatham as captured in a stirring photograph that seemed to be a scene from JAWS.
A witness of Tuesday's incident said "It was unbelievable; we really thought we were all watching a movie. We all looked at each other wondering did we just see what we think we saw."
Myers was brought to Cape Cod Hospital and later transferred to Massachusetts General where his wounds, described as severe cuts on both legs by Truro Fire Chief, Brian Davis, were being treated.
When asked if he thought it was safe to go back into the water, Myers said, "It will take some gentle effort to get back in the water, but I hope one day,"
From 2000-2011 there have been 807 shark attacks worldwide, 473 in the U.S. with 11 fatalities in the U.S. according to the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. In 2011 there were 29 shark attacks in US Waters with no fatalities.
The last known great white fatality in Massachusetts was in 1936.