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Death in Cocos from shark attack

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by BDSC, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    Camera or pipe deterrant assumes you see the shark and you are generally facing it in your attempt to ward it off, not always the case. I don't think you will always be able to protect yourself. The ascent is of particular concern. Whether you are horizontal or vertical, seems like you would want to scan all directions, easier vertical, I generally ascend horizontal. Maybe I will rethink that if I go back to Cocos
  2. HalcyonDaze

    HalcyonDaze Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Miami
    There's been no information on the size of the shark; I was just using that size range as an example. Bear in mind that according to the standard length-weight curve for tigers, a 9-ft animal would likely be in the neighborhood of 275 pounds. That's big enough to hurt.

    We also don't know who else may have seen the shark; I think too much is being made of DM's statement that he saw it first and tried to deter it before it bit the victim. That may mean he saw it coming just seconds prior to impact and was unable to get to her before the bite, rather than he had an extended period of time to observe the shark or that it pressed home the attack despite physical interference from the DM. Barring video or a comprehensive account, much is left to inference.

    Agreed, although I find a horizontal ascent makes it easier to scan a wide swath below me. Whatever your "defensive" measure is - bangstick, speargun, PVC stick, knife, camera, underwater kung fu - it doesn't mean much if your first warning is a bump and a bite. Situational awareness is the first line of defense and will probably keep you out of harm's way without having to physically push off a shark.

    The thing to remember about predators is that they operate by a risk-reward system - if the potential prey item can injure the predator or even cause it to expend more of an effort than it's worth, the predator will likely move on. There is no urgent care clinic for marine life; a serious injury inflicted by a prey item can result in permanent disability or death down the road. Likewise, even aside from the risk of injury a prolonged expenditure of effort for a meal doesn't pay off. It's one thing if a shark can take a ~150-200 lb animal completely by surprise and get in a crippling first hit. It's quite another if it has to approach the same animal on full alert.

    As an amateur history buff, I sometimes feel sharks have a lot in common with accounts I've read of the more successful fighter aces - Hollywood dogfights aside, the bulk of their victims were taken by surprise at close range.
  3. diverdoug1

    diverdoug1 Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Florida (via Texas and New York)
    When I got hit by a Tiger Shark, it felt like a giant smacked me with a big sack full of bricks. I have fended curious sharks away with my camera housing a number of times, but a big Tiger hitting you is an entirely different ball of wax. I have a hard time imagining that fending off a big shark off that is hot to trot would be possible with a camera or pointer. The force they have when ramming into you is very overwhelming. The biting part really sucks too.
  4. mmmbelows

    mmmbelows Regular of the Pub

    Feeding frenzy, LOL, you obviously grew up watching way too many shark movies in the 70s.
  5. OceanEyes

    OceanEyes ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Hollywood, Florida
    I’ve known Kay Dee for about a quarter century, and have had the pleasure and privilege of diving with him in “shark infested” waters. I seriously doubt that his comment regarding sharks feeding was based on watching sensational cinematic fantasies during the time frame that you’re referring to, as he spent a good amount of the ’70’s sailing and diving with sharks.

    Should you care to witness such behavior yourself sir, I suggest that you make a night dive at Manuelita, (as soon as the current closure of the site is lifted). I have yet to make a dive there without seeing at least one “frenzy.”
    RaiKai, rongoodman and John Bantin like this.
  6. John Bantin

    John Bantin Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: London
    Kay Dee is a very experienced, nay famous, diver! Unlike me, she/he prefers to remain anonymous.
  7. BDSC

    BDSC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wake Forest, NC
    Other than Jacques Cousteau, I didn't know there were any famous divers.
  8. Miguel Mantas

    Miguel Mantas Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Germany
    Should you care to witness such behavior yourself sir, I suggest that you make a night dive at Manuelita, (as soon as the current closure of the site is lifted). I have yet to make a dive there without seeing at least one “frenzy.”[/QUOTE]

    One question and one thought:

    1) What would be the procedure to "re-open" the site of such an event to regular diving activities ?...I guess the Marine Park and maybe even Ministry need to validate the situation somehow before re-opening...would they send experienced parties to see "what happens if you dive" ?...would there be, maybe unbeknown to outsiders, attempts to remove animals ?...what do you do ?...just accept that an individual animal that may have experienced unwanted behavioral reinforcement by this attack is given a next chance to test it live seems to me something that should rather be tested under controlled conditions instead (as much as this is even possible )...??...there must be other similar cases of reference, eg from shark-surfer or shark-swimmer accidents, I guess...

    2) What comes to my mind as well is that, as an operator, you may want to brief divers in much sterner ways about situations and behaviors they need to adopt in dive sites with a probability of "big three" encounters...sort of emergency procedure briefings...I must say that I never dived with the Undersea Hunter, so maybe they do that already, but I have dived in several places where we knew there would likely be (and there were)bulls, or tigers or oceanic whitetips and in most cases I just got descriptions that "there could be those indeed", not "procedure-under-attack" recommendations...I know that for many this is calculated risk they are well aware of (was for me) and they may even be considering it in part as they carry their cameras, sticks, etc...but for a diver, even an experienced one, but a rookie in terms of these animals, a lack of specific behavior instructions may be the missing element between a knee-jerk flight with consequences or a more adequate reaction...again, maybe all this is regular operating procedure somewhere, but I have not encountered it when it came to my own dives ...
  9. Cert1967

    Cert1967 Let's Go Skiing

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Vail, Colorado
    @John Bantin

    If Kevin Denlay wanted to remain anonymous, his SB profile surely betrayed him. As did his avatar and initial posts.

    Kevin Denlay - Shipwreck Discoveries and SCUBA Diver


    "Kevin first embraced so-called ‘technical diving’ in 1991 after taking part in what was then only the second Nitrox Diver course taught recreationally in Australia, and in 1993 - after extensive training in the USA with such technical diving pioneers as Tom Mount, Bret Gilliam and Hal Watts - became the first Trimix Diver Instructor in Australia. He later trained on rebreathers with Rob Palmer and and Jeff Bozanic and went on to become a Closed Circuit Rebreather and Mixed Gas Instructor Trainer with both the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers and Technical Diving International. No longer instructing, Kevin now concentrates solely on shipwreck exploration, documenting them with both still photography and videography.

    Kevin has had his photos published in books, magazines and on various web sites world wide and also writes articles for several international magazines on the wrecks he has dived/explored/discovered. He also shares his images, video footage, survey data and other relevant information with marine archaeologists, naval historians, WWII naval veterans and, whenever possible, with the few remaining survivors from the ships he has dived. Since February 1999, when diving, he has exclusively used a modernised Biomarime Mk 15.5 closed circuit rebreather and currently lives near the Gold Coast in Australia. Besides being a Fellow International in The Explorers Club, Kevin is also a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers’ Marine Forensics Committee and a founding member of the Ganges River Dolphin Eco-system Conservation Group (Nepal)."

    He indeed seems to be famous - quite the explorer, author, photographer, and diver.

    The master and the apprentice, Tom Mount and Kevin Denlay.png 14B-Exeter-survivors-Ensign-handover.png Kevin Denlay from ww2 wrecks.png 2002 Kevin Denlay prior to a dive with Mk 15.5 closed circuit Rebreather.png Kay Dee Bear.jpg
  10. mmmbelows

    mmmbelows Regular of the Pub

    If being open minded, and flexible to exploring new ideas and approaches to issues clearly as alarming as two experienced divers, one a dive master being severely injured and a customer under their care being killed paints one as you describe than so be it.

    This death has been one of a series of previous other close encounters and shark attacks in the Cocos dating back over the years, it's now resulted in the culmination of the death of someone. It's a pretty serious thing and shouldn't be treated as lightly as "just the risks you take" or try to be nullified with the typical "mistaken identity" or the other rationalizations the dive industry promotes about "rarity". The Cocos dives are not sold as extremely risky with the chance of severe injury or death occurring on your dive due to the unpredictability of diving with Tiger sharks. I don't ever recall any marketing even mentioning you'll be diving with tiger sharks, the marketing I'm familiar with touts whale sharks, hammer heads and mantas and the only requirement is an open water certification which opens the gates to plenty of newer divers who have limited to no experience with anything approaching tiger sharks.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2017
    Miguel Mantas likes this.

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