Man dies af­ter bit­ten by shark off Cape Cod

Fa­tal at­tack is first in Mas­sachusetts in more than 80 years

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - NATION - By Su­san Haigh ASSOCIATED PRESS

WELLFLEET, Mass. — A man was bit­ten by a shark Satur­day in the wa­ter off a Cape Cod beach and died later at a hos­pi­tal, be­com­ing the first shark at­tack fa­tal­ity in Mas­sachusetts in more than 80 years.

The 26-year-old man from Re­vere suc­cumbed to his in­juries fol­low­ing the at­tack off New­comb Hol­low Beach in Wellfleet at around noon, Wellfleet po­lice Lt. Michael Hur­ley said.

Joe Booth, a lo­cal fish­er­man and surfer, said he was on shore when he saw the man and his friend boo­gie board­ing when the at­tack hap­pened.

He said he saw the man ag­gres­sively kick some­thing be­hind him and a flicker of a tail from the wa­ter. He re­al­ized what was hap­pen­ing when the friend came ashore drag­ging his in­jured friend.

“I was that guy on the beach scream­ing, ‘Shark, shark!’ ” Booth said. “It was like right out of that movie “Jaws.” This has turned into Amity Is­land real quick out here.”

Booth said some on the beach at­tempted to make a tourni­quet while oth­ers fran­ti­cally called 911.

Hay­ley Wil­liamson, a Cape Cod res­i­dent and former life­guard who was on the beach at the time, was in dis­be­lief af­ter the man was rushed into an am­bu­lance.

“We’ve been surf­ing all morn­ing right here and they were just fur­ther down,” she said of the two boo­gie board­ers. “Right spot, wrong time, I guess.”

Life-sav­ing mea­sures were at­tempted on the beach be­fore the man was taken to Cape Cod Hos­pi­tal in Hyan­nis, where he was pro­nounced dead, State Po­lice spokesman David Pro­co­pio said. The beach has been closed to swim­ming.

The fam­ily of the vic­tim was no­ti­fied of the death but his name was not re­leased, Pro­co­pio said.

It was the first fa­tal shark at­tack in the state since 1936, and the sec­ond shark at­tack this sea­son.

A 61-year-old New York man was se­verely in­jured Aug. 15 af­ter fight­ing off a shark off Truro, about 4 miles north of Satur­day’s at­tack. He’s cur­rently re­cov­er­ing in a Boston hos­pi­tal.

Beach­go­ers said the Wellfleet beach is pop­u­lar with surfers, and with sunny skies and warm tem­per­a­tures Satur­day it was busy, even though the sum­mer sea­son is over and life­guards are no longer on watch.

There have been fre­quent shark sight­ings this sum­mer along the outer Cape, of­ten lead­ing to beach clos­ings. The Na­tional Park Ser­vice, which man­ages many of the pic­turesque beaches where white sharks tend to con­gre­gate, said it closed beaches for at least an hour about 25 times this year — more than dou­ble the an­nual av­er­age.

Barn­sta­ble County Com­mis­sioner Ron Beaty said he had warned some­thing like this could hap­pen and urged mea­sures to re­duce the num­ber of white sharks.

“It is my per­sonal be­lief that the re­spon­si­bil­ity for this hor­ri­ble shark at­tack rests squarely upon the shoul­ders of the afore­men­tioned of­fi­cials for their ut­ter lack of at­ten­tion and in­ac­tion re­gard­ing the grow­ing shark prob­lem on Cape Cod of the last few years,” he said.

The state’s last shark at­tack fa­tal­ity was on July 25, 1936.

Su­san Haigh / Associated Press

Peo­ple keep their dis­tance Satur­day af­ter a re­ported shark at­tack at New­comb Hol­low Beach in Wellfleet, Mass. A man was at­tacked by a shark off Cape Cod and died later at a hos­pi­tal.

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