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Old 02-05-2010, 09:29 AM
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Dr. Burgess, Director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History examined the shark attack wounds yesterday and came up with some important conclusions about the attack. He is an expert in this field maintaining the global database of shark attacks. I spoke to him yesterday by phone prior to his attending the post mortem. He speculated it was less likely spinner sharks were responsible for the initial attack but more probably a larger shark such as a bull shark. Spinners may hit humans by accident but usually move on after limited interaction. Spinners are preyed up on these same larger sharks during the seasonal migration.

In the article below, it is stated "The shark that killed a kiteboarder off Stuart this week was an 8- or 9-foot shark in the requiem family, a group which includes bull sharks and tiger sharks, a shark attack expert (Burgess), who examined the body said Thursday evening."

It goes on to say; "Blacktip and spinner sharks, also members of the requiem family, are responsible for many attacks, but those are generally just single bites by a shark that thinks a hand or foot is a fish. Bull sharks and tigers are known killers, and along with great whites, are "the primary attackers of man," according to the International Shark Attack File. There had been speculation that a great white had been the attacker, but Burgess said his examination definitively ruled out that species."

This opinion discounts what some thought was a weakly supported claim that white sharks may have responsible for the attack.

The article also states; "Schafer's death was a rare event in a state where shark attacks often are minor lacerations caused by small sharks. Worldwide about 8 percent of shark attacks result in death, but in Florida about 1 percent are fatal, according to the International Shark Attack File's statistics."



"Expert suspects tiger or bull sharks killed kiteboarder

By David Fleshler, Sun Sentinel
8:54 p.m. EST, February 4, 2010

STUART - The shark that killed a kiteboarder off Stuart this week was an 8- or 9-foot shark in the requiem family, a group which includes bull sharks and tiger sharks, a shark attack expert who examined the body said Thursday evening.

Two bite wounds on the thigh caused the death of Stephen Howard Schafer, victim of the first fatal shark attack in Florida since 2005, said George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Burgess drove to the medical examiner's office in Fort Pierce on Thursday to examine the body.

Blacktip and spinner sharks, also members of the requiem family, are responsible for many attacks, but those are generally just single bites by a shark that thinks a hand or foot is a fish. Bull sharks and tigers are known killers, and along with great whites, are "the primary attackers of man," according to the International Shark Attack File. There had been speculation that a great white had been the attacker, but Burgess said his examination definitively ruled out that species.

About 4 p.m. Wednesday lifeguard Daniel Lund peered through binoculars and saw Schafer lying on his board about a quarter-mile offshore, officials said. When Lund paddled out, he saw blood in the water and Schafer screamed "I've been bitten by a shark," according to an interview Lund gave to WPTV-Ch. 5.

Lund held Schafer on his rescue board with one arm and paddled to shore with the other, as sharks circled.

"It's not like the dorsal fins come out of the water like you see in the movies," he told the television station. "They generally kinda cruise through the waves, and you can see the shadows going underneath and so on, so you know they're there."

A report by the Martin County Sheriff's Office said Schafer had suffered an 8- to 10-inch bite on the thigh, bites on the buttocks and apparent defensive wounds on the right hand.

More than 100 sharks were seen in the ocean off Reef Road in Palm Beach on Thursday morning, prompting lifeguards to monitor the beaches to see if any should be closed, WPTV-Ch. 5 reports.

Last week, beaches were closed for three days on Singer Island because of shark sightings. Hammerheads, spinners, reef and bull sharks are common off South Florida this time of year, when they follow schools of migrating fish."


Continued at:
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/loc...,5808685.story

TV Interview with Dr. Burgess:
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/videobet...350c&src=front
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transcribed by:
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Last edited by RickI; 02-05-2010 at 02:52 PM.
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