Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Shark Attacks 2010: Latest Maui attack part of a record number

Since 2006, more than 17.4 million people have watched this shark attack a seal on YouTube.

The Shark Attack File for 2010 increased by one Sunday afternoon when a 16-year-old bodyboarder in Maui was attacked by a shark before being pulled to safety by two professional surfers.

It was the 96th shark attack recorded worldwide in 2010, adding to what already is believed to be a record year for shark attacks, according to record-keepers of such statistics.

The International Shark Attack File reveals that the highest number of unprovoked shark attacks since 1960 was 79 in 2000, when 11 fatalities occurred as a result of the attacks.

The Shark Attack Survivors website details the 96 shark attacks of 2010, including 11 fatalities -- the most since 2000. Eleven deaths sound ominous when compared to the 10 recorded for the previous three years combined.

But if it sounds scary, it probably shouldn’t, considering the Age of Technology that we live in today, among other factors. With the Internet, nothing goes unreported and that includes shark attacks.

Consider this: The International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History charted worldwide unprovoked shark attacks and rate of fatality from 1900-2009. It shows the number of attacks increasing and the percentage of fatalities decreasing.

Translation: More are being reported today than in the days before the Internet and CNN, and we have no way of knowing for sure how many shark attacks occurred in the pre-Technology Age. Plus, there are many more people in the water nowadays, considering the growth in population. Still, this fact remains: The odds of getting attacked by a shark remain long.

Of course, don't tell this to those who were attacked.

The Kihei boy was bitten in two passes by the shark while bodyboarding just outside the Kahului Harbor breakwater, according to The Maui News.

The boy suffered lacerations to his lower left leg, calf, foot and ankle area, and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Pro surfers Kai Barger and Tanner Hendrickson, surfing the infamous “Ledges,” heard screams from one of two bodyboarders who were farther out. The two surfers paddled toward them.

“Usually someone yells ‘shark’ and everybody freaks out and heads back in,” Barger told the Honolulu Star Advertiser.  “But we couldn’t hear what he was yelling and I wasn’t really sure what to think. The waves were pretty good and we wanted to stay in. We weren’t sure if it was someone crying ‘shark’ just to have the spot to himself. [...]

“I asked them if they had seen a shark and he said that he had been bitten by one. He lifted his leg and his fin was gone and all of the skin on his shin was off. It was really gnarly.”

Barger told The Maui News the boy probably owed his foot to the fact that bodyboarders wear fins. The shark bit off much of the boy's left heel and took the fin, Barger said. Without the fin, the fish might have taken the foot.

On the beach, Barger and Hendrickson used their leashes as tourniquets and propped the boy’s leg up with his bodyboard until medical help arrived.

Said Barger via the Star Advertiser: “It’s just the code of the water that you help when someone is in trouble.”

Unfortunately, there’s been plenty of trouble in the water in 2010.

Thanks to PeteThomasOutdoors.com for the tip.

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Other shark-related posts on Outdoors 720:
Red Sea shark attacks: One victim thought it was a dolphin
Kayaker terrified by shark
Congress bans shark finning

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