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Triathlete Killed By Shark While Swimming Off Solana Beach


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Posted by on April 25, 2008 at 12:25:28:

In Reply to: Solana Beach (San Diego) Fatal Shark Attack posted by Randy on April 25, 2008 at 09:42:43:

SAN DIEGO -- A swimmer training with a group of local triathletes was killed Friday by a shark in the water off Solana Beach, north of San Diego, lifeguards reported.

On Friday afternoon, family friend Rob Hill identified the victim as 66-year-old Dave Martin of Solana Beach, a retired veterinarian. Hill said Martin lived in Solana Beach since 1970.

"He leaves behind a family and a lot of friends that loved him. All that the family asks is that you respect their wishes and give them some time to grieve and leave them alone for a little while," Hill said at Friday's news conference.

At Friday's news conference, Scripps Institution of Oceanography shark expert Richard Rosenblatt said the shark was probably a white shark between 12 and 17 feet long.

Martin suffered a single bite that crossed both legs.

Rosenblatt said the victim was likely killed with a single upward thrust and bite. Water in the area is 20 to 30 feet deep. The expert says it's unlikely the shark can be located.

Martin was swimming with others at Tide Beach around 7 a.m. when he was attacked, according to a statement on the Solana Beach city Web site.

He was taken to the Fletcher Cove Park lifeguard station for emergency treatment but was pronounced dead at the scene, the statement said.

"It looks like the shark came up, bit him, and swam away," said Solana Beach Deputy Fire Chief Dismas Abelman said.

A group of about 10 swimmers were in the water at the time, he said.

The attack took place about 150 yards offshore and several swimmers wearing wetsuits were in a group when the shark attacked, Solana Beach lifeguard Craig Miller said.

Miller said two swimmers were about 20 yards ahead of the man when they heard him scream for help. They turned around and dragged him back to shore. He was declared dead at 7:49 a.m., Miller said.

Swimmers were ordered out of the water for a 17-mile stretch around Solano Beach and the county Sheriff's Department sent helicopters up to scan the waters for the shark.

"The shark is still in the area. We're sure of that," Mayor Joe Kellejian said.

Miller said the beaches could remain closed for 72 hours.

It was unknown what kind of shark was involved.

Solana Beach is 14 miles northwest of San Diego.

Earlier this year, stories of shark sightings swept the coast from San Diego County north through Orange and Los Angeles counties, the Los Angeles Times reported in late March. One surfer claimed a bite mark on his surfboard was made by a great white at Bolsa Chica State Beach, but lifeguards at nearby Huntington Beach said there was no evidence of great whites in the vicinity at that time. Other shore authorities also hadn't recorded any unusual sightings.

The last fatal shark attack in California, according to data from the state Department of Fish and Game, took place on Aug. 15, 2004, in Mendocino County at Kibesillah Rock. The victim was a man diving for abalone with a friend.

On Aug. 19, 2003, a woman swimmer was killed by a great white at Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County on the central California coast. That was the state's first fatal shark attack since 1994, according to the DFG.

The last fatal shark attack in San Diego County was in June 1959, when a free diver was killed, the DFG said.

Overall, shark attacks are extremely rare. There were 71 reported worldwide last year, up from 63 in 2006. Only one attack, in the South Pacific, was fatal, according to the University of Florida.



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