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Welcome to Jawshark.com's list of news articles pertaining to attacks made by Great White Sharks off the coast of the United States. These articles are referenced from many sources including other Internet websites, newspaper article archives, first hand accounts emailed to me and articles written by me after viewing recent accounts on various television news channels. Their accuracy is as good as their sources which means they are as accurate as they can get. With that being said I think they are fairly if not entirely accurate. The basics of the story are there. A number of these articles were written by journalists with a deadline and a pen itching for sensationalism. That is ok with me as long as the basic story is true.

The reason I even bring this up is because of my observations of the news coverage of the recent fatality off the San Diego coast of Dr. David Martin. I watched first hand news footage of one of his Triathalon Swim Club mates say how he saw him go under, a red patch of blood appear in the water, and Dr. Martin resurface to call out to them. This was a first hand witness account...

Not a day later I am reading an article on Yahoo News about the event and the author (who shall remain nameless) decided to throw in how Dr. Martin was flipped up into the air as he was being mauled by the shark. Next I will read how the shark breached the surface with Dr. Martin's body halfway in his mouth. See what I mean? So take these articles with a grain of salt. It's a good bet most are generally true through and a good reference of the "facts"........enjoy.

Great White Shark encounters from unsafe vantage points in the United States......

United States Great White Shark Attack Articles ~

Shark attacks surfer in Monterey Bay California!

From the Associated Press,
August 29, 2007

A surfer was attacked by a shark in Monterey Bay early today and airlifted to a hospital with bite wounds to his torso and thigh, according to hospital and state park officials. The 24-year-old victim, Todd Endris, was surfing with a half dozen other people at Marina State Beach when the shark attacked him from behind around 11 a.m., according to Loren Rex, a California State Parks spokesman.

Todd screamed and started punching the shark while trying to flee, Rex said.

Todd Endris Marina state beach shark attack"Then the shark took him down under the water," he said. "Another surfer saw a lot of thrashing and some blood coming up. Other witnesses saw the shark let him up before biting him one more time." One witness said the shark was a great white shark measuring at least 20 feet long, which rescuers weren't able to immediately confirm, Rex said. Surfers pulled Todd to shore and administered first aid, using a surf leash and a blanket as tourniquets to stop the bleeding until rescuers could arrive, Rex said. Todd was conscious and breathing when he was taken away by ambulance. He was then airlifted to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, where he was in fair and stable condition Tuesday afternoon with lacerations to his torso and thigh, according to hospital spokeswoman Joy Alexiou.  Todd went into surgery and was expected to survive, Alexiou said.


Monterey Bay California beach - Jawshark.comThe Monterey County beach, located about 35 miles south of Santa Cruz, is well known for its sand dunes, hang gliding and rugged surf with very strong rip currents. The area where the Todd Endris was attacked is considered an advanced surfing spot suitable only for skilled surfers. Because of the attack, state officials closed all the beaches from Monterey State Beach to Moss Landing, a 15-mile stretch where people were forbidden from entering the water Tuesday.

Rex said this was the first recorded shark attack at Marina State Beach, but added that surfers and  divers have been attacked in Monterey Bay and other nearby areas of California.               

See also:       lucky surfer Peck Euwer            WARNING:some photos on destination page are graphic

Diver Randy Fry killed by Great White shark. FORT BRAGG, California (19 Sep 2004)

Cyber Diver News Network -- On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in August, a perfect day for abalone diving, Cliff Zimmerman Randy Fry and their friend Red Bartley anchored in Zimmerman's 28 foot boat, the Dolphin.  The water was flat, promising good visibility for the divers as he and his friend Randy Fry prepared to snorkel for abalone. They anchored the Dolphin just off one of the larger rocks. They talked about sharks, Zimmerman remembers, and noticed the sea lions in the cove. The two men asked Bartley, who would stay on the boat, to keep an eye out for sharks or any odd behavior by the sea lions. Bartley was apprehensive, he said later, but the other two were not. They had been diving together for 30 years, it was no big deal for them. So Fry and Zimmerman went into the water; each wore a wet suit, a snorkel, fins, weights and mask. Each carried an "ab iron,'' a metal bar used to pry the abalone off the rocks below. They were in 15 feet of water, 150 or so feet from shore. They were in the water 30 minutes, maybe less. It was about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Fry had been so busy with work it was only his second diving trip of the year. "Last I saw Randy, I was talking to him," Zimmerman said. "The last thing he said was, 'I gotta get a couple of abs.' "He said, 'Where are the big ones?' I said, 'Right below me.' '' And then Fry dived -- the shark was waiting for him, beneath us.

Fry took a deep breath, kicked his feet in the air and began the descent to the ocean floor. Out of nowhere, Fry was hit and killed instantly by a great white shark. Zimmerman, who was swimming alongside and saw the shark go by him, thinks Fry never knew what hit him. "It was the most dramatic thing I ever saw in my life,'' Zimmerman said. "It's just not real. This monster came so fast, it happened so fast and was over so fast you think, 'How can this happen?' "The shark brushed by Zimmerman, who was very close -- an arm's length away from Fry. He felt the movement of the water, a sound like a whoosh. It was death passing by. The shark hit Fry at the throat. The ocean was suddenly red with blood. "I yelled, 'Randy! Randy!' '' Zimmerman said, and then he realized what had happened. "I yelled, 'Holeeee s -- ! Shark!' '' Bartley, who was watching from the boat, was amazed and horrified. "It was over in 5 seconds,'' he said later. "I saw the pool of blood spread across the surface of the water and I knew Randy was gone.'' Zimmerman didn't know where the shark was or what he would do next. He is a big, burly man and he swam for his life, as fast as he could to the anchored Dolphin, which had a little platform and an open door on the stern just above the water line.

"I told Red, 'Red, pull me in as hard as you can.' I didn't want to be the one that almost made it. He pulled me in so hard that when I came aboard I knocked him on his ass.'' Bartley or Zimmerman, it's not clear who, got on the radio, channel 16: "Mayday! Mayday!"

In minutes, three helicopters were at the cove, hoping for a sign of the missing man. A Coast Guard boat came boiling up from Noyo. Jim Martin, another of Fry's friends, was in Noyo himself, helping to clean up from the fish fry the day before and heard the radioed distress calls. He got in his car and started north, then turned around. He realized there was nothing he could do. How did it happen?  The shark was intent on attacking a sea lion on the surface; instead it was an abalone diver named Randy Fry. "It was a case of mistaken identity,'' said John McCosker, chair of aquatic biology at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Great whites are attracted to the silhouette of a sea lion or other prey on the surface and they attack from below with a single massive bite. Because the shark's snout and jaws lift during the bite, the animal was probably unable to see his prey at the moment of impact.

They didn't find Fry's body until Monday. The head was missing, severed by the shark. The next week, they held a memorial service on two big fishing boats. They cast Randy Fry's ashes into the ocean. It was not over yet; on Sept. 3, nearly three weeks after the attack, a beachcomber found all that remained of Fry.

So the odds were long. When there was talk about sharks attacking divers, Zimmerman said, Randy "would always get mad and say the odds were a hundred times greater getting killed driving to the beach.'' "But the odds caught up with him," Zimmerman added.

Jim Martin believes the chances of getting killed by a great white shark are longer than the odds of winning the lottery."We'd joke, 'If you're gonna go diving, don't go with a guy who just bought a lottery ticket,' '' Martin said.

McCosker said he has "no doubt whatsoever" that Fry was killed by Carcharodon carcharias, a great white shark. McCosker, who was director of the Steinhart Aquarium, is an expert on these creatures, which he calls "perhaps the most dangerous of living fishes to mankind.'' There is little accurate information about them; no one is sure how many great whites there are. There are "hundreds, at most, on the California coast, '' McCosker says. "They are near shore. They are not a deepwater and blue ocean animal.'' It is known, however, that great whites inhabit inshore waters. They are most often found in the so-called "red triangle'' from Ano Nuevo Island on the San Mateo County coast to the Farallon Islands to Bodega Head in Sonoma County.

They have been there for thousands of years, seen occasionally, feared. The Pomo Indians who lived on the redwood coast had a prayer to protect themselves from sharks before going to hunt sea lions. Great whites are most frequently seen in fall, when the salmon begin to return to the inland rivers. The seals and sea lions feed on the salmon; the sharks feed on them. August and September are high season for sharks. In late August, a shark was sighted in Bolinas Bay, and Stinson Beach was closed to swimming for several days. The great white shark is a formidable animal; the Australians call them "White Death'' and say the biggest may be as long as 25 feet and weigh four tons. The shark that killed Fry was smaller, probably, but only Zimmerman saw it. It was big, he said, "big enough to kill".          

 back to fatalities by country USA

Great White attacks and kills swimmer off Avila Beach, California - Tuesday, 19 August 2003

Fatal Shark Attack  —  at 0815 hours, Deborah B. Franzman was fatally attacked by a white shark 50 to 75 meters from shore and 200 meters south of the pier at Avila Beach, San Luis Obispo County, California, near a line of buoys that are used to mark the swimming area. She was dressed in a black wet suit and swim fins.

Witnesses reported Franzman swimming near a number of pinnipeds that might have been feeding on a school of bait fish. Suddenly, the pinnipeds scattered in a flurry of ocean spray and within only a few seconds a large white shark breached, grabbing the woman, momentarily pulling her beneath the surface. She reemerged and began shouting for help. About 30 lifeguards were on the beach preparing for a competition and heard the cries for help. Without consideration for their own safety, lifeguards Tim Borland, Billy Larsen, Rich Griguoli, and Jeff Fesler ran into the surf and swam to the injured swimmer. When they reached Franzman, she was unconscious, face-down in the water. They immediately noticed the severity of her wounds when they turned her over on her back. The signaled their colleagues on shore that she had been attacked by a shark as they swam quickly for the beach.

Upon reaching shore they immediately began CPR but all efforts to revive Deborah Franzman failed. She had sustained a major injury to her left thigh which had severed the femoral artery. The shark was estimated at 15 to 18 feet in length. No specifics were provided as to the method used for this estimate. Deborah Franzman was the second fatal shark attack victim from San Luis Obispo County and the ninth for California since 1950. Our condolences go out to her family.

After the death of Deborah Franzman in August, 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper had an article with tips on how to avoid a great white shark attack. "Along the West Coast, the areas known for the most sharks are Ano Nuevo, Bird Rock near Point Reyes and the Farallon Islands...don't swim with shark food - specifically sea lions or elephant seals. White sharks do not normally hunt humans - but their favorite food is sea lions. Deborah B. Franzman, 50, was fatally attacked by a shark as she was swimming with sea lions just off Avila Beach pier. She was wearing a full-body wetsuit and fins. If you are wearing a wetsuit and fins and you are swimming with sea lions, you are doing a fine job of imitating shark food."

back to fatalities by country USA

Michelle Von Emster photo - Jawhshark.comThis story is totally and utterly true.

In the spring of 1994, I fell in love with an extraordinary woman. She worked in a local coffeehouse owned by the owner of the bar where I worked at the time. The two venues, Winston's Beach Club and Rumors Café, were adjacent, connected by a shared backroom door.

Michelle had brains, beauty, gusto and grace. She had Newcastle hair and coffee-bean eyes. She also had leukemia, though it had been in remission for two years.

Before each bartending shift, I used to come through the backroom door into the coffeehouse and request her special triple mocha mint masterpiece and revel in those short moments of her enlightened, enthusiastic conversation. My heart fluttered from espresso and infatuation.

Finally, after a month of courting, she agreed to come over to my side of the door for drinks. To the drone of a lame-ass Wednesday-night band, we sat at a table and chatted. She told me about her war against the cancer and how it had focused her on the important things in life. She said she might be moving to San Francisco to be near her family. She said she loved to surf naked at twilight and told me about the butterfly that was tattooed on her shoulder blade and how she might show me later-if I was lucky.

I bought another round and returned, of course, to find an enormous, swaggering, intoxicated oaf in a wifebeater hovering at the table appraising Michelle as though she were a peach tree and he was Paul Bunyan.

“Let's get out of here,” blurted Michelle, wide-eyed.

We guzzled our drinks, warned Tom, the newly hired doorman, about the lumbering, lovesick lumberjack and began the long walk home. We walked and talked and held hands and, just a few blocks from my lair, er, I mean, house, Tom the doorman pulled up in his pickup truck. He was distraught.

Apparently, just after we left the bar, Paul Bunyan flew into a rage and ripped the front door off its hinges. After the melee, Bill, the owner of Winston's, fired Tom for doing nothing to stop him.

“I need to talk,” moaned Tom.

Greeeeat, I thought. I can't wait to listen to some guy I don't even know mewl over his problems when I'm trying to make love to the enchanting Princess Papillon. Was it not clear to Tom that Michelle and I were about to unravel the quintessence of the cosmos? Couldn't he see that he was about to become the biggest, bulgingest, squeakiest, annoyingest third wheel of all time?

Tom stared at us from the window of his truck. He looked like he was going to cry. I invited him over. Once home, we made ourselves comfortable. I sat on the far left of the couch and Michelle sat next to me. Tom-instead of taking the vacant, super-dooper reclining armchair-plopped his fat ass on the sofa next to Michelle!

So there we three were on the couch. Tom groused about his miserable existence, scratched his fat belly and swiftly dispatched four beers while Michelle and I stole fleeting gropes and kisses. The truth was that I didn't care about the firing, or about Paul Bunyan and the front door. It all seemed pretty clear cut to me-a doorman needs to protect the door, pretty much by definition. I cared only about the ticking clock. There was much loving to yet lavish, many toes to very massage, two nipples to much lather.

Just when it seemed things couldn't get any worse, they did. Tom's head tipped back, his mouth dropped open and he began snoring as though his lungs were gasping the last few droplets of the world's air supply.

I shook him repeatedly until his eyes slowly opened. “Tom, it's very late. You should be going, huh?”

“Yeah,” he said, and fell back to sleep.

I woke him three times. Three times he fell asleep. I wanted to kill.

Defeated, Michelle and I crawled into each other's arms. We sweet-talked, kissed and fondled to the soundtrack of Tom's baritone snores. She unbuttoned her shirt (though her bewitching black bra remained intact) and showed me the infamous butterfly: a masterpiece of ink, muscle tone and femininity. But I needed more than that butterfly-I needed the cocoon. But, while the snoring beast contaminated the air, she would take things no further.

At 5 a.m., my sweet Lady Papillon re-buttoned her clothing, scribbled my number on a matchbook and climbed into a cab. She said she would call me the next night.

But she didn't. One... two... three days passed and no call. Had I done something wrong? Was our love not meant to be? Was the great snoring beast to blame?

Photo of Michelle Von Emster's body after her death - Jawshark.comOn the fourth day it was official. Our love was not to be. I sat dejectedly in my living room, watching the news. The coroner was hauling an apparent shark-attack victim out of the water in Ocean Beach. The victim-a woman in her 20s-was naked and unidentifiable, except for one distinguishing physical characteristic: a tattoo on her shoulder blade of a radiant Monarch butterfly. Later, a friend confirmed the horrible truth: Michelle had gone late-night surfing and encountered, unbelievably, a Great White shark.

There's a moral in there somewhere. Perhaps it's “Just when you beat the cancer, they send in the sharks.” Maybe it's something else.

I don't work at Winston's anymore. And Rumors Café has been replaced by Starbucks. But somewhere under the layers of that crisp, contemporary Starbucks paint job is the smell of Michelle's mint mocha masterpiece, which I still miss to this day.

In warm memory of Michelle Von Emster.


Edwin Decker

Surfer gets scare of his life On August 15, 1987

Craig Rogers, a landscape contractor then living in Santa Cruz, California, paddled out to go surfing at a nearby break. It was 7:30 a.m., Rogers was sitting up on his board, legs dangling over each side, searching the horizon for the next set of waves. Abruptly, he noticed his board stopped bobbing in the water.

"I looked down and my eyes filled with a sight of instantaneous horror," said Rogers. A great white shark was biting his board just in front of his left hand; the head was almost three feet (one meter) across. "I could have touched its eye with my elbow."

The shark had surfaced so quietly, Rogers hadn't heard a thing. He flung up his hands, accidentally grazing two of his fingers along the shark's teeth. "I yelled in terror and slid off the board to the opposite side," Rogers explained in a written report made just after the attack.

He was bleeding when he entered the water.

Submerging to his shoulder, he watched the shark gently release his board and sink like a submarine, disappearing beneath him. Later analyses of the puncture marks on his board suggest the shark was 17 feet (5 meters) in length.

"It is typical for a great white to swim up to someone at a relaxed pace, take a bite, then swim off," said Collier. This contrasts with the torpedo-like attacks on the seal, suggesting that the shark's goal is not predation.

Teeth Like Hands

"Great whites are curious and investigative animals," said Martin. "That's what most people don't realize. When great whites bite something unfamiliar to them, whether a person or a crab pot, they're looking for tactile evidence about what it is."

A great white uses its teeth the way humans use their hands. In a living shark, every tooth has ten to fifteen degrees of flex. When the animal opens its mouth, the tooth bed is pulled back, "causing their teeth to splay out like a cat's whiskers," said Martin.

"Combine that with the flexibility of each tooth, and you realize a great white can use its jaws like a pair of forceps. They're very adept at grabbing things that snag their curiosity."

Great whites are also sharp sighted, further evidence that they do not mistake humans for other prey. Scientists believe that sharks see as well below the surface as humans do above it. And they see in color.

"I've seen these sharks swim 70 feet (21 meters) to the surface to investigate a piece of debris no bigger than the palm of my hand," said Martin. They are also known to take bites of buoys, paddle boards, brightly colored kayaks, zodiac boats, and other man-made objects floating in the ocean.

"Everyone wants to think sharks just search out seals, but they bite a lot of things that don't resemble any of their known prey," said A. Peter Klimley, an expert in marine animal behavior at the University of California, Davis, and author of the Secret Lives of Sharks and co-author of Great White Sharks: The Biology of Carcharodon carcharias. "They don't tear these things to pieces. They take a bite, feel them over, then move on."

The Taste Test

If sharks bite to figure out the nature of various objects, then why do they usually spit out people rather than adding them to the menu?

"They spit us out because we're too bony," said Martin.

Great whites have extremely slow digestive tracts; if they eat something less than optimal, it slows down their digestive tract for days, prohibiting them from eating other things. "That makes them selective about what they eat," said Klimley.

The insulation that keeps seals warm is pure fat, which provides twice the calories of muscle. That makes them a favorite of great whites. A high fat diet is mandatory for the great white to maintain its body temperature and keep its brain warm in cold water.

Still, sharks do attack people along U.S. coasts and around the world, even if the nature and number of encounters belie expectations.

There are steps society can take to reduce the number of incidents.

Cities often use beaches as burial grounds for marine mammals that wash up dead—like beached whales. "There is a possibility that when those animals are buried, some of the decaying material washes out to sea and attracts sharks," said Collier.

A healthy avoidance of pinniped colonies is another way to minimize human fatalities. A more subtle point is to steer clear of river mouths dumping spawning fish into the sea. Fish runs attract pinnipeds, which attract great whites. They feast on both seals and salmon, also a favorite shark snack.

"What we need to remember is that if great whites really liked to eat people, there would be a lot more fatalities," said Collier. "And I wouldn't interview so many survivors."

~National Geographic News

Great White attacks and kills diver abalone free diver.

Saturday, 15 September 1984

Pigeon Point California site of 1984 Great White Shark attack of Omar Conger - Jawshark.comThe sky was overcast and the sea calm. The attack took place at 0830 hrs off Pigeon Point, between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz, California. Omar Conger and his dive companion, Chris Rehm, were 0.4 km north of Pigeon Point. Conger was dressed in a black wetsuit and shared with Rehm a blue-and-yellow surf mat. They were 150 m from shore, in 2 fm of water with less than 1 m of visibility. Conger and Rehm had been in the water 20 to 30 minutes and had collected two or three abalone. The ocean floor was rocky and reef-like, with short kelps and sea grasses covering the majority of the substrate.

The divers were 5 m apart, with Conger resting vertically in the water looking out to sea, toward the west. Rehm was holding onto the mat, facing north and watching his friend, when to his unbelieving eyes a “huge White Shark came up, grabbed him [Conger] from behind, and while shaking him violently, pulled him under the water. I never saw the shark before the attack,” Rehm told researchers Lea and Collier. Within a few seconds the shark reappeared with its back completely out of the water, with Conger still in its mouth. Almost immediately upon surfacing, “like a big submarine,” the shark headed toward Rehm, releasing Conger only a few meters away. Rehm swam to his friend, pulled him onto the dive mat, and headed for shore. Upon reaching the safety of the beach, it was clear that Conger had died as a result of his injuries. The direction from which the attack came suggested that the shark must have swum directly under Rehm prior to attacking and mortally wounding Omar Conger. This was the second White Shark attack from this recurring location.

The San Mateo County coroner determined the cause of death to be “exsanguination as the result of multiple shark bites. There were multiple lacerations to the dorsal and palmar surfaces of the hands, fingers and wrists ranging from 5 to 15 centimeters in length. There were numerous lacerations to both posterior thighs and buttocks, with the femoral vessels severed in both thighs.” The locations of the wounds suggest that the shark first grabbed Conger by both thighs, pulling him under the water. The injuries to the hands were probably the result of his trying to fend off his assailant. Wound dimensions suggest a White Shark 4.5 to 5 m in length.

California Surfer Lewis Boren Attacked and killed by Great White Shark. Dec 19 1981

The attack on Lewis Boren is probably the best known California white shark incident. On the morning of 19 December, 1981, Boren had been surfing with friends. After lunch, he returned to surf at Spanish Bay (near Pt. Joe), alone. The last anyone saw of him was when his friends talked to him at 2:00 that afternoon. The next day, two surfers found his board washed up on the shore. A large chunk had been bitten out of it.Lewis Boren surf board bitten by Great White Shark - Jawshark.comThey found the missing piece only a short distance away. It wasn't until December 24th that Boren's body was found. From the wounds, it appeared that he had been lying on his board with his arms stretched out when a large white shark struck from the left side. The shark bit through both Boren and his board. Boren's wound reached from his left armpit to his left hip, and more than halfway across his body. From the tooth count and size of the bite, the shark was estimated to be 17-19ft. long. Water conditions that day were rough, with average temperature and extremely good visibility.

go to Great White Teeth and Jaws

go to Great White Fatalities by Country -USA

Montery California, Oct 7, 1952 -17 year-old Barry Wilson has the distinction of being the first recorded white shark victim in Monterey, AND the first recorded white shark fatality in California. On Dec. 7, 1952, he was swimming about 25 yards from the shore in Pacific Grove (there is some question as to exactly where. Conflicting reports put it at Lover's Point, the morelikely spot, and Point Anlone, which is the present location of the Monterey Bay Aquarium) when he was struck from the front by a 12ft. white shark. Another swimmer came to his aid, but the shark struck again, this time from behind. The first strike appears from the autopsy pictures to have been on the left leg. The second appears to have caused the devastating wound to upper half of the right leg. This wound extended from the knee to the buttock, exposing the femur, and severing the femoral artery. Barry died of exsanguination before he could be brought to shore. Water conditions were reported to be murky, about 8ft. visibility.

See autopsy picture here. WARNING. Old file picture but graphic.


Jawshark.com received this email from Gilbert Crabbe regarding this incident on April 11 2007.

I was born in Pacific Grove.  I remember from the news that Barry Wilson was skin diving for fish with two friends (spearfishing) when he was attacked off Lovers Point, city of Pacific Grove, Monterey county.  I wanted to add to the "savaged"...his leg was bit off and his friends brought him to shore.  HE DIED.  Thanks for the stats......very interesting and useful. 

Gil Crabbe

And this one from a gentleman named Bobby Brown on July 23 2007.

I knew Terry and Barry Wilson. I was 10 in 1952 , I watched the shark attack from the lawn area of Lovers point Pacific Grove, Calif. The story appeared in Boys life magazine shortly after they always had an illustrated story at the back of the magazine. The guy who swam to the rescue left a knife in the sharks eye. The shark was larger than stated in the article.

ps. The incident in new jersy was quite a rarity. I enjoyed your site. thanks


And this one from Sue Taylor '68, of Fresno, CA on January 6 2008. thanks!

I collect data on students and staff of Pacific Grove High School, CA, my alma mater. I thought you would be interested in the articles about Barry's death. He was class of 1954 (died in school).

Monterey Peninsula Herald, CA Dec. 8, 1952 p1

Shark Kills Boy Swimming in Bay

17-Year-Old Pacific Grove Lad Is Attacked By Man Eater Near Shore

A huge shark at least 15 feet long ripped a 17-year-old Pacific Grove youth to death yesterday afternoon not more than 100 feet off Lovers Point. The victim was Barry Wilson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Wilson and a student at Pacific Grove High School . A companion, 15-year-old Brookner Brady Jr. of the Monterey Presidio fought the shark with a trench knife and made a heroic effort to save his friend before four other swimmers came to his aid. The Wilson boy, his legs and lower body horribly mutilated by the shark, was brought ashore on a rubber tube after a half hour struggle in mountainous waves. He was dead before his rescuers could reach the beach. Artery Severed. His legs were mangled, large chunks of flesh having been torn away. His femoral artery was severed.

There are no records of another attack against a human by a shark on the Pacific Coast and local fishermen could not recall any similar incident. The shark was identified by scientists as a great white shark, a type found commonly off Australia and in the North Atlantic . Fishermen here theorized it might have been driven into Monterey Bay by the storm, although, even so, it was far from his usual haunts. Young Brady told Deputy Corner Chris Hill and the herald he and Wilson had gone swimming in the high surf yesterday afternoon. Brady said he was about 30 feet from the shore at Lover’s Point when he heard Wilson , swimming slightly further out in the surf, give a horrible scream. He was making a terrific struggle. Another witness said the lad was lifted clear out of the water as the fish struck. Brady immediately swam for his friend, but before he got to his side, the shark came towards him. Forked tail. “It had a long, pointed head and a forked tail,” he said. Brady stabbed the shark three times in the eye with a trench knife he wore. He then went on to Wilson ’s aid, securing him with a lifesaving grip, but the shark came back again before the rescue was completed.

Also alerted by Wilson ’s screams were four members of the Monterey Peninsula Sea Otters, a skin diving club who were in the water nearby. They were Sgt. Earl Stanley, a military policeman at Fort Ord ; John L. Poskus of Pacific Grove; Robert Shaw, also of Fort Ord, and Officer Frank Ambrogio of the Monterey squad of the California Highway Patrol. Lifted Victim. All excellent swimmers, they went to the aid of the two boys and were able to lift the shark’s victim onto an inner tube. With some members towing and othes pushing the emergency raft, they made the beach after a half hour struggle in the high surf. During their battle with the waves and their heavy burden, the shark returned. “It swam right between my legs,” Ambrogio said. “I don’t know why it didn’t attack, unless it was because we were thrashing around so much in the water.” Stanley said he could see the shark as it made its pass and then left the scene. ( Stanley was cited for heroism last spring after saving the life of Martin Green of San Francisco at almost the same site. Green fractured a neck vertebrae in a dive from the beach breakwater and was knocked unconscious.) Crowd Gathered. As they approached shore, Brady came close to the rocks where a crowd already was gathered and asked that medical aid be summoned. He then collapsed across the rocks, bleeding from a number of minor scratches. Pacific Grove police, sheriff’s deputies and the PHG Fire Department responded to the emergency call and once the Wilson lad was lifted onto the landing at the municipal beach breakwater efforts were made to revive him. Although firemen and Dr. Richard Hane worked with a resuscitator for 30 minutes they failed to revive the boy. Ambrogio said the youth either was dead by the time his group reached him in the water or died on the way to the beach. Dr. Hane said the extent of the boy’s wounds indicated he died within seconds of the attack.

A call to the police station brought Officer Mzatin Nodilo shortly after the tragedy. Nodilo called the fire department resuscitator squad, a doctor, ambulance, the Coast Guard and the sheriff’s office. Brady, the son of an Army colonel who commands the 1st Infantry Regiment at Fort Ord , told police later he first believed his swimming companion had been attacked by a sea lion. This led to a request for an opinion from Hopkins Marine station biologists. From the tooth marks, they definitely confirmed the identification of the attacker as a shark. By another strange quirk of fate, young Wilson ’s grandfather, Arthur Stone, also of Pacific Grove , heard the sirens resulting from the call for aid and, acting on a hunch, rushed to the beach. He was among the throng of several hundred persons who watched the boy’s body brought to shore. Wilson was a popular high school student, especially gifted in music. He was a tuba player in the high school orchestra.

New Jersey Man Eater Story of 1916

Nearly 60 years before Peter Benchley's novel "Jaws," a real man-eater lurked the waters of the New Jersey coast. It was July 11th, 1916, and in Beach Haven the tourist season was in full swing. The beaches were filled with sunbathers and the ocean with swimmers. Everything seemed like just another hot July day. But this day would be different from any other. A young Penn graduate named Charles E. Vansant, a resident of Beach Haven, died after having been attacked by a shark while out swimming. A lifeguard pulled him in and tried to stop the profuse bleeding, but Charles could not be saved. Scientists of the area wrote this off as a singular freak occurrence. They could not have been more wrong.

Five days later the shark would strike again, 45 miles to the north, near the Essex and Sussex Hotel in Spring Lake. Bellboy Charles Bruder would become the second fatality. He was swimming out beyond friends when he was heard screaming "A shark bit me! Bit my legs off!" These are the last words Charles would ever utter. Mesh barriers went up almost immediately around swimming areas. Still, it was too late to save the rest of the tourist season. What would happen next would elevate the panic to a new level.

Thirty miles farther north, residents of Matawan, a small town 11 miles inland from the open ocean, naturally felt that they were safe from attacks. Swimmers here were confined to the Matawan creek, a narrow tidal creek that wound its way to the bay. A retired fishing boat captain, Thomas Cattrell, was walking home after a successful day of fishing. When he crossed over Matawan's new trolley drawbridge he noticed something that seemed almost impossible: a huge shark was heading up the inland waterway. He couldn't believe his eyes, but confidant that what he saw was very real, Cattrell ran into Matawan to warn everyone.

Though the citizens were all aware of the two shark attacks on the coast, no one could really believe there was any great threat of an attack in a small body of fresh water. Despite his vigorous pleas, the Captain's story was dismissed as a heat induced phantom. Ignoring these warnings would prove a very grave mistake.

On July 24th a factory across town was generously letting 11-year-old Lester Stillwell leave work a little early. After meeting some friends, they went for a swim in the Matawan Creek. While they splashed and played, Lester told his two friends, both only a few feet away, to watch him floating on his back. A moment later he was violently pulled beneath the water. His friends listened in disbelief to his screams as he bobbed up and down. Blood filled the water around him as the shark dragged him under again and again. His friends swam as fast as they could and then ran into town screaming and crying.

The boys’ impassioned cries for help would not be ignored. 24-year-old Stanley Fischer sped to the creek with two other men thinking that Lester may have suffered an epileptic seizure. The two men dove in, not knowing there was a shark still attacking the boy’s corpse. Stanley Fischer attempted to pull the bloody body away from the shark and was also killed, sparking a hysteria that would overtake the small town. But the NJ man-eater was not yet finished.

Heading back down stream towards the ocean the shark struck again within one hour of the last attack, wounding 12-year-old Joseph Dunn who only narrowly escaped with his life, but not without losing a leg. He would be the 5th and final victim of the marauding fish.

Now the town of Matawan, stunned by the gruesome and unlikely attacks, was out for revenge. A reward was offered for the shark, and the people of Matawan became obsessed with vengeance against this evil creature. Some of the townspeople industriously filled the creek with dynamite, hoping to blast the shark into oblivion. The dramatic effort proved unsuccessful.

Back on the coast the greatest shark hunt in the state's history was under way. Although no one knew the species, or its size, blind retribution would be swift. Hundreds of sharks were caught and slaughtered.

Shortly after the attack Michael Slicher, a coastal fisherman, captured the man-eater just outside a creek at the Raritan Bay. It was an 8ft. Great White, and when dissected, 15 lbs. of various human remains were discovered in its stomach. For many, the grisly discovery brought closure to the summer's horrific events.

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