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Shark bite on Shear Water, Bahamas

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This is the official thread on the February 24, 2008 shark bite in the Bahamas.

 

On February, 24, 2008, a 50 year old man was bitten by a shark in the Bahamas while on a shark diving expedition aboard the Shear Water. The man was bitten in the leg by a shark while scuba diving and was reportedly flown via Coast Guard helicopter to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for treatment.

 

*Latest update* The diver, Markus Groh, died at the hospital. No cause of death has been given by the medical examiner.

 

I just spoke with Jim, who is just clearing immigration right now back in Florida. We'll report more facts as we get them.

 

Let's please try to keep the discussion fact-based, with opinions only -- no speculation nor rumor spreading, please.

 

News coverage links are available on the front page article.

 

If you can, please help by posting links to news coverage of the bite.

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Well the news media's sensationalistic tendencies will take over.

 

Miami Herald Headline: Shark Bites Man Off Ft Lauderdale

It was 50 miles OFF but the headlines make it sound like it was right off the beaches of Ft Lauderdale.

 

There is no good way to spin this for the sharks unfortunately. On the other side in Clearwater, there is still some sort of hysteria over the few shark bites around the area.

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More coverage:

 

Miami Herald

 

Florida media frenzy will begin soon. Sigh.

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My thoughts are with all those involved. Jimmy is a friend and I know this will be a difficult time for all those that were on the boat and their families.

 

I also hope this does not turn into more bad news for the sharks.

 

Todd

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Myself (booked numerous trips with JASA) and several customers have sent emails to JASA offering support on how organized, safety conscious, etc. they are.

 

I also mentioned and maybe some of you web saavy searchers could find how many dog, people or whatever bites resulted in emergency room visits on 2/24/08 in the USA......I am at a loss if such a number could even be found online.

 

But then people really are in two camps. Those who have been with sharks and respect them and appreciate their role in nature, and those for whom ignorance and mis-information still overshadows any logic....

 

We'll just have to see how it plays out!

 

dhaas

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But then people really are in two camps. Those who have been with sharks and respect them and appreciate their role in nature, and those for whom ignorance and mis-information still overshadows any logic....

 

It's more complicated than that. Those who would oppose this sort of activity aren't automatically ignorant. There are two other camps, those that oppose shark baiting and those who don't. The role of sharks in nature has little to do with this accident.

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I also mentioned and maybe some of you web saavy searchers could find how many dog, people or whatever bites resulted in emergency room visits on 2/24/08 in the USA......I am at a loss if such a number could even be found online.

 

You may know some of these stats (nothing for yesterday) but the media and public .. well.... if a 4 hour boat ride is "off Fort Lauderdale" as others indicated...

 

 

Dog Bites I

 

Dog bites result in approximately 44,000 facial injuries in US hospitals each year. This represents between 0.5% and 1.5% of all emergency room visits. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States seeks medical attention for a dog bite. Male patients slightly outnumber females in most studies. Unfortunately children comprise 60% of the dog bite victims. Severe injuries occur almost exclusively in children less than 10 years of age. The face is the most frequent target (77% of all injures). Mail carriers are an exception where 97% involve the lower extremities. We see an unusual number of dreadful injuries each spring. Severely injured patients stay an average of 4.2 days in the hospital. Dog bites cause an average of 18 deaths a year.

 

 

Dog Bites II

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States seeks medical attention for a dog bite.

 

There are approximately 800,000 bites per year in the United States that require medical treatment.

Most of the victims are children, and most of them are bitten on the face.

 

Almost $165 million is spent treating dog bites and 70% of dog bites occur on the owner's property.

 

Dog bites result in approximately 44,000 facial injuries each year. This represents between 0.5% and 1.5% of all hospital emergency room visits. Male patients slightly outnumber females. Unfortunately children comprise 60% of the dog bite victims. Severe injuries occur almost exclusively in children less than 10 years of age. The face is the most frequent target (77% of all injures). Mail carriers are an exception where 97% involve the lower extremities. We see an unusual number of dreadful injuries each spring. Severely injured patients stay an average of 4.2 days in the hospital. Dog bites cause an average of 18 deaths a year.

 

Bee Stings

 

It is estimated that between one and two million people in the United States are severely allergic to stinging insect venom. Each year 90 to 100 deaths from sting reactions are reported, but many more deaths may be occurring, mistakenly diagnosed as heart attacks, sunstrokes or attributed to other causes. More people die each year from the effects of insect venom than from spider or snake bites.

 

Extreme human sensitivity to stings resulting in serious or fatal reactions is confirmed almost entirely to cases involving bees, wasps, hornets, bumble bees and ants

 

Each year in the U.S., there are over 8,000 poisonous snakebites

 

 

Sharks and Info

 

Worldwide, about one million people a year are killed in auto accidents, including more than 42,000 a year in the United States.

 

McEachran goes on to note that far more people die each year - about 90 worldwide - from an allergic reaction to eating peanuts.

"There are millions of people in the water at any given moment of the day," he notes.

 

"When you consider all of the people in the water at the same time, the number of shark attacks is very, very remote. Your chances of winning the lottery are greater than being attacked by a shark.

 

"But when a shark attack does occur, it makes big headlines. The drive you will make to the beach is far more dangerous, but an auto accident that kills several people will not make big headlines across the U.S. But a shark attack on one person will."

 

According to the International Shark Attack File, only seven fatalities occurred worldwide due to shark attack in 2004, there were only four in 2003, and only three in 2002.

 

Florida, with its large coastline and warm waters, leads all states with an average of about 30 shark attacks per year, followed by California (6), Texas (4), Hawaii (3), North Carolina (2) and Alabama, South Carolina and Oregon each reporting one.

 

McEachran says shark attacks are far less frequent causes of injury than driving, boating and diving accidents.

 

He says when most attacks occur, they happen in 3 to 4 feet of water. "But often, that can mean you're several hundred feet away from the beach," he notes. "Also, most attacks occur in water that is murky and not very clear.

 

"A greater percentage of beachgoers are injured by jellyfish, stingrays or hardhead and gafftop fishes, which have poisonous spines. They are more likely to cause harm than a shark."

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Very unfortunate that this happened on Jim's boat. ;)

 

I've been on three separate Shearwater trips, and I can't imagine how anyone could be more careful and conscientious about making sure the diving is done safely and the divers are educated in what to do/not to do. I'm anxious to know more details about this incident...

Edited by bmyates

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We would like to extend our prayers to the person bitten by a shark and their familiy. We also pray for you to have a speedy recovery and this incident doesn’t have too much of an effect on your life or effect your family.

 

We have formed an organization for Shark Attack Survivors operated by Shark Attack Survivors. We are the only organization that provides resources, information, and assistance for past, present, and future shark attack victims and their families. If you were involved or know someone who was involved in a shark attack, or if there is anything your fellow shark attack survivors can ever do to assist you or your family in any way Please contact us.

 

The site also has pages and pages of shark attack information to help others avoid being attacked.

 

Director

Al Brenneka

Shark Attack Survivors

 

Edited by Moderator for brevity.

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According to this news story, the man has died. Very sad.

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How very unfortunate. After having read about all the good times people have had diving in these waters for the specific purpose of being in the water with sharks and never having heard of someone being bit before I can only imagine that this was more than likely just a very unlucky accident.

 

I hope that the mans family are doing as well as they can be, and that everyone else onboard the boat is well, I know that any incident on a dive boat can be very traumatic let alone something like this.

 

:) I still want to go experience it for my self though.

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Very sad day for Jim Abernethy and everyone else at JASA...Obviously for the family of the diver as well. Hopefully more details emerge regarding the accident, and that it's determined that it was just that, a tragic accident. Jim and his crew have done more to de-mythologise sharks for more people, myself included, and it would be a shame if this was sensationalised to the point where Jim was compelled to stop taking people to Tiger Beach. As for myself, I'm going to book my second annual trip on-board the Shearwater for this summer!

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According to this news story, the man has died. Very sad.

 

Scheisse :) - It's German but says it all in one word.

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As a long time friend of Jim and crew I spoke with them briefly last night. They are very saddened by this "freak" occurence. There was nothing that anyone did or did not do that could have prevented this. It simply happened. Please keep your prayers and thoughts with the diver and his friends, family, fellow divers and crew that were present on Shearwater.

 

Some facts:

The shark was a bull shark and the incident occurred far to the south of "Tiger Beach" in about 75 fsw in Bahamian waters. The diver was bitten in the calf and was assisted to the surface immediately by Shearwater crew whereupon the Coast Guard was summoned immediately for an evac and professional first aid was administered to the diver by Shearwater crew.

The diver was transported by USCG helicopter to Jackson Memorial hospital in Miami. He died.

 

The news is reporting several facts incorrectly. Please, please let's not turn to speculation about this event. It is simply a tragic occurrence that was not provoked by anyone. Let's stay professional and keep all affected in our hearts and prayers.

 

Best always,

 

Andy Sallmon

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Too right Andy. Jim and his people have been great for us and we plan to go back as often as possible. A few months ago a kid here in Ft lauderdale grabbed a baby nurse shark and clutched it to his chest. It bit him and the media went nuts. No mention of the bearhug, only how brave the lad was saying he would snorkel again, Sigh...

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It is a pity that shabby reporting is the way of the world these days. At least the deceased has been identified as Markus Groh from Austria (not the german pianist of the same name).

http://www.miamiherald.com/466/story/432881.html

Thank you Andy for clarifying where the bite was etc. I think you'll be getting a few media calls in a while. Good luck with that.

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Thank you Andy for clarifying where the bite was etc. I think you'll be getting a few media calls in a while. Good luck with that.

 

Hi Drew, I just learned from Jim's page that it was very likely to be an Austrian citizen. It

was confirmed several minutes ago, before I came back here. In fact I am very concerned

about the media plug that will occur.

 

Last time I volunteered to give some footage to one of the German news stations after

a non-fatal shark accident occurred. I was hoping to get a good chance to speak for the

sharks as an endangered species. Unfortunately they edited the interview and kept only

some buzz in there. I was very disappointed and expressed my feelings about it online.

 

This accident has exploited a very vulnerable part available to media with lesser intention

on all the pictures and videos shark enthusiasts have on their hard drive. I am afraid that

the previous hymn on human+shark friendship may now be abused.

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I was sickened by Watson's comments on Drew's Channel 5 news link. People that love diving with sharks should pull together when a terrible accident like this happens. If Jim needs any testimonials to his safe operation the line will be long. John

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I was sickened by Watson's comments on Drew's Channel 5 news link. People that love diving with sharks should pull together when a terrible accident like this happens. If Jim needs any testimonials to his safe operation the line will be long. John

 

It is really bad what happend, and i think we sharklovers/divers need to do somthing now!

All the stupid comments i am getting sick of it!

 

I am leaving in 4 weeks for 2 trips in a row shark diving with the other boat there "Dolphin Dream" and i do not have eny problem going in with these lovely annimals even after this unlucky accident!

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I've just had a phone call about this incident so news is spreading fast it seems.

 

I think no matter what your opinion is on shark chumming or shark feeding then right now our thoughts have to be with the family of the deceased. Also god knows what's going through the minds of the boat operators right now. I don't know Jim Abernathy personally, but I've heard nothing but praise for him and his operation in the past and I'm sure he's devastated by this incident.

 

On this website we all know that diving with large predatory sharks could potentially be dangerous, even life threatening, but it's a chance that we take as photographers, videographers and more importantly shark lovers. There will be plenty of time to debate the repercussions, but for now I'm just terribly sad for all kinds of reasons, not least the additional bad publicity that it's going to create in addition to those I've already expressed.

 

It truly is a sad, sad day :)

 

Simon

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After we instantly plugged a German translation very similar to the WETPIXEL post this morning, the Austrian Online Web Magazine nullzeit.at now also has a report on the case. It features - fasten your seatbelt - an interview with Dr. Erich Ritter, who is still very popular here in Germany. The highlight of that interview is that Dr. Ritter claims to have seen all this coming.

Dr. Erich Ritter im Gespraech mit nullzeit.at meinte, war der Unfall insgesamt auch vorherzusehen. "Bereits im Jaenner habe ich vor einem demnaechst drohenden Unfall bei dieser Art des Haitauchens gewarnt, doch es wollte niemand auf mich hoeren", erklaert der renommierte Haiforscher gegenueber nulzeit.at.

Nullzeit.at also reports that Dr. Ritter was approached by officials to investigate the case. I think Jim Abernethy will be very happy to hear about that. Just as I am,... As today Dr. Ritter started a lawsuit with DIGIDEEP.com accusing us to demote his academic title in public.

 

For those who do not understand German, please use these links,

to translate the German reports @ nullzeit.at and DIGIDEEP.com.

 

Here is also a link to the German Echoes in our Forum, which is very

similar to the responses seen with WETPIXEL users, here. No Surprise...

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For those who do not understand German, please use these links,

to translate the German reports @ nullzeit.at and DIGIDEEP.com.

 

The first German report includes the following, which I found interesting. If it is correct, he didn't die from the bite, but perhaps from PE due to rapid (panic) ascent.

 

> According to last news was the cause of death also is not the Haibiss, but apparently the panic was too fast rise of the diver to the surface...The resulting pulmonary embolism may have caused the deaths. <

 

I doubt the media will highlight that not-insignificant detail... <_<

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