Swimmer killed in Shark Attack

Swimmer killed in Shark Attack

SOLANA BEACH, Calif. - A shark thought to be a great white on Friday attacked and killed a 66-year-old swimmer who was training in the ocean off San Diego County with a group of triathletes, authorities said.

Family friend Rob Hill identified the victim as Dave Martin of Solana Beach, a retired veterinarian.

The man was attacked by what authorities believe was a great white shark at Tide Beach around 7 a.m., authorities said.

Martin was taken to a lifeguard station for emergency treatment but was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a statement on the Solana Beach city Web site.

The man's injuries crossed both thighs and were made "by what is probably a great white shark," San Diego County sheriff's Sgt. Randy Webb said in a statement.

"It looks like the shark came up, bit him, and swam away," said Solana Beach Deputy Fire Chief Dismas Abelman.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography shark expert Richard Rosenblatt said the shark was probably a great white between 12 and 17 feet long.

Shark won't likely be located
Rosenblatt said the victim was likely killed with a single upward thrust and bite. Water in the area is 20 to 30 feet deep. The expert said it's unlikely the shark can be located.

The attack took place about 150 yards offshore. Several swimmers wearing wetsuits were in a group when the shark attacked, said Solana Beach lifeguard Craig Miller. Two swimmers were about 20 yards ahead of the man when they heard him scream for help. They turned around and dragged him back to shore.

Swimmers were ordered out of the water for a 17-mile stretch around the attack site and county authorities sent up helicopters to scan the waters for the shark. "The shark is still in the area. We're sure of that," Mayor Joe Kellejian said.

Hill, a member of the Triathlon Club of San Diego, said he was running on the beach while about nine other members were in the water when the attack took place.

"They saw him come up out of the water, scream 'shark,' flail his arms and go back under," Hill said. "The flesh was just hanging."

Hill said club members had been meeting at the beach for at least six years and never had seen a shark.

However, Hill said he saw a sea lion on the beach Friday, which was unusual for the area, and speculated that perhaps the shark had been hunting them and got close to shore.

The shark may have confused the wet-suited swimmers with his prey, he said.

Solana Beach is 14 miles northwest of San Diego.

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