Shark at­tack off Cape Cod kills boo­gie boarder

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - NATION - By Su­san Haigh Su­san Haigh is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

WELLFLEET, Mass. — A man boo­gie-board­ing off a Cape Cod beach was at­tacked by a shark Satur­day and died later at a hos­pi­tal, be­com­ing the state’s first shark at­tack fa­tal­ity in more than 80 years.

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

Life­sav­ing 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 was closed to swim­ming.

The at­tack is the first fa­tal shark at­tack in Mas­sachusetts 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 near Truro, about 4 miles north of Satur­day’s at­tack. He’s re­cov­er­ing in a Bos­ton hos­pi­tal.

“To­day is just keeping ev­ery­one out of water,” Hur­ley said. “There’ll be a de­ter­mi­na­tion later about what the town wants to do with the beaches go­ing for­ward.”

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

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 com­pan­ion.

“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 peo­ple on the beach at­tempted to make a tourni­quet while oth­ers fran­ti­cally called 911.

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

A Cape Cod politi­cian said of­fi­cials who did not take more ag­gres­sive ac­tion against sharks bore some re­spon­si­bil­ity for the fa­tal at­tack. Barn­sta­ble County Com­mis­sioner Ron Beaty said he had warned some­thing like this could hap­pen.

“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.

Eric Wil­liams / Cape Cod Times

Emer­gency per­son­nel con­fer at New­comb Hol­low Beach in Wellfleet, Mass., af­ter a shark at­tacked a boo­gie boarder. The man later died at a hos­pi­tal. The beach was im­me­di­ately closed.

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