A swimmer was bit by a shark at a nude Florida beach Sunday in what is believed to be the first such attack in South Florida.
The Miami Herald reports that 44-year-old Elvin Lanza suffered numerous bites to both legs at Haulover beach in Miami-Dade county Sunday but is expected to survive.
His mother told NBC 6 that Lanza tried to kick the shark to get it to let go.
“He’s recovering, thank God, it was very scary but he’s now under God’s control and that’s what’s important,” she said.
The paper reports that this is the first recorded shark attack on a nude beach in South Florida.
Experts believe that a lifeguard, who was trailing the shark on a water bike and trying to warn swimmers, may have actually caused the shark to attack.
More, via Miami Herald:
“The animal was being harassed — not necessarily intentionally — but trying to be herded out of the area,” said George Burgess, director of Florida Natural Museum of History’s International Shark Attack File. “An animal being cornered will lash out. It’s a potential contributing factor that should be addressed.”All the naked bodies in the water, on the other hand, probably played no role, he said. Sharks can see contrast well and are attracted to it — contrast like those between the sun-kissed and paler parts of a person’s body, which is why experts recommend wearing more neutral-colored bathing suits to reduce the chances of being attacked. But sharks are also attracted to flash and splashes, and Lanza, who was swimming nude, was bitten in the lower legs as he tried to swim to shore.
Video footage shows a Sunny Isles lifeguard puttering on a water bike near a shark estimated at four to five feet long while surrounding swimmers began making for shore. The water bike had been trailing the shark down the beach, according to Rob Boyte, who was sun bathing with a friend near a lifeguard stand. Boyte said he heard someone say “Shark!” Then, he heard the lifeguard blowing the whistle alerting people to get out of the water.
“I don’t know if they couldn’t hear it or were just moving slow,” Boyte said.