Rare Shark Attack In Southern California: One Dead

A 66-year old triathlete was killed this morning by what onlookers describe as a “big gray shark”. Dave Martin was swimming about 150 yards offshore at Fletcher Cove, north of San Diego, when he was attacked.

Mr. Martin suffered long jagged lacerations from his upper thighs to shins, with a biting radius of about 22 inches. He was initially taken to a lifeguard station to be transported to a hospital but was pronounced dead at the lifeguard station.

Shark attacks are extremely rare in Southern California. “It just doesn’t happen. A shark attack is unheard of,” said Solana Beach Deputy Fire Chief Dismas Abelman.

The last time a shark was confirmed to have killed someone in San Diego County waters was in 1994.

The victim, 25-year-old Michelle Von Emster, went for a nighttime swim by herself in Ocean Beach April 14.

Her body, with her leg severed at midthigh, was found the following day two miles to the south, near the surfing area known as Garbage Reef.

Investigators determined she drowned after being bitten by a great white shark.

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  1. SSSSsssssharkssssssss! Booya!

  2. Ms. Aloha says:

    Well, the 66-year-old guy died doing what he loved: training for a triathelon. I have hardly jumped in the ocean since a young, surfer girl (now famous) lost her arm in my area. She is still surfing. If you love what you do, you will do it in the face of known possible dangers.

  3. “I was at the same beach last week”, she said eerily.

  4. I live near this beach and my brother surfs there almost daily. Ugh. The news here has been back and forth about whether that 1994 incident was really a shark attack. There’s talk that maybe it was a murder and her body was disposed of, THEN bitten. I dunno. Creepy.

    But if hers wasn’t a bona fide attack, then the last one was in 1959. So they really are rare here.

    It was weird. My husband and I drove along a stretch of beach that was closed this past weekend. No one on the beach, but tons of people with binoculars standing on the road, scanning the ocean. Small boats galore out in the water — more than usual — searching for that shark, I think. It was eerie. Like you could feel the menace in the air.

  5. caraellison says:

    Wow. That sounds surreal, Tracey. And eerie. Is your brother nervous about going back in?

  6. caraellison says:

    Wow. That sounds surreal, Tracey. And eerie. Is your brother nervous about going back in?

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