A surfer has died in California after being bitten by a Shark on Saturday 9 May 2020. Ben Kelly, 26, of Aptos in Santa Cruz County, was bitten on the leg below the knee once by the Shark, which did not continue the attack, and climbed back on his board and attempted to paddle back to the shore at off Sand Dollar Beach, but died of blood loss due to a severed popliteal artery, despite attempts at first aid by his companions. The attacking Shark was identified as probably being a subadult Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, 3-4 m in length, by Shark expert Sean Van Sommeran of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation, based upon the nature of the wound. The area is known to be home to a population of as many as 24 subadult Great Whites.
Californian surfer Ben Kelly, 26, killed in a Shark attack on 9 May 2020. Baker Carroll/The Mercury News.
Despite their fearsome reputation, attacks by Sharks are relatively rare, with only one other fatal attack ever being recorded in Santa Cruz county, Lewis Boren, 24, who died in December 1981 after being bitten while kiteboarding. Most attacks on Humans by Great White Sharks are thought to be mistakes. The species feeds principally on Marine Mammals, which we superficially resemble when we enter the water, gaining the majority of their nutrition from the thick adipose (fat) layers of these animals, which we lack. Due to this, when Great Whites do attack Humans these attacks are often broken off without the victim being consumed. Such attacks frequently result in severe injuries, but are seldom immediately fatal, with victims likely to survive if they receive immediate medical attention.
Emergency workers on Manresa State Beach in Santa Cruz County, California, following a fatal Shark attack on a surfer on 9 May 2020. Terri Tucker/The Mercury News.
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