Shark kills southern California swimmer

Shark attacked and killed a 66-year-old man as he swam at a popular beach near San Diego in California.

Shark kills southern California swimmer

An apparent great white shark attacked and killed a 66-year-old man Friday as he swam with a local triathlon club at a popular beach near San Diego in California, local officials said.

A friend identified the victim as Dave Martin, a retired veterinarian who had lived in the area since 1970. Officials said he had been swimming together with eight fellow members of the triathlon club at the time.

The rare attack took place just after sunrise at Solana Beach north of San Diego and some 200 kilometers (124 miles) south of Los Angeles, the local sheriff's office reported.

The shark was "almost certainly" an adult great white shark, said Richard Rosenblatt with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

In a press conference, Solana Beach Mayor Joe Kellejean said residents were "shocked and dismayed" at the incident.

"I want to implore everybody to please stay out of the water," he added.

Deputy Fire Chief Dismas Abelman said the swimmers, who had all been wearing full wet suits, were pulling Martin out of the ocean when help arrived.

"The victim was dead from an attack from a large marine animal, a shark attack," he said, adding Martin died as a result of "severe injuries to both legs."

"It was typical great white shark behavior to attack from below, make a bite and then draw away," said Rosenblatt, adding that the animal normally feasts on sea mammals like seals.

He described Martin's wounds as "quite clean and massive" and believes the shark measured between 3.7 and five meters (12 and 17 feet) long.

Authorities closed off part of the beach while helicopters searched for the shark, but Rosenblatt said the chances of finding it were "pretty slim."

Shark attacks along California's southern coast are rare, although attacks have been reported off beaches in northern California, near San Francisco.

Such incidents in the United States are more common in the warmer waters off Florida and the southeastern US states.

The last shark fatality in the San Diego area may have been in April 1994, when a woman's disfigured body was washed ashore with evidence of shark bites. The most recent death before that was in 1959, local media reported.

Last Mod: 26 Nisan 2008, 12:41
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