According to a study carried out by the University of Florida, your chances of being attacked by a shark are about 1 in 11.5 million. Being killed by a shark is actually one of the least likely causes of death, but that does not mean you cannot get attacked by this feared marine predator. In fact, there have been a number of fatal shark attack stories over the past years. If you are interested in real life shark attack stories, you should check out today’s post with these 25 Terrifying Shark Attack Stories.
Let us start out with one of the most incredible shark horror stories ever – the story of Rodney Fox. In 1953, Fox was defending his Australian spear-fishing title when a great white shark attacked him. Fox suffered numerous injuries including a punctured diaphragm, pierced shoulder blade, and ripped lung. His rescuers even had to keep his wetsuit on to prevent his internal organs from spilling out. However, after 4 hours of surgery and 360 stitches, Fox lived to tell his tale.
During a 2004 diving trip in California, Cliff Zimmerman was only 3 feet away from Randy Fry, his old friend and diving partner, when he heard a noise and felt the pressure of something big moving. It was a huge shark that came quickly out of nowhere and killed Fry. Suddenly, Zimmerman said, the water was filled with blood. Both the shark and Fry disappeared and were never seen again.
South African championship body-boarder David Lilienfeld was killed by a big great white shark measuring between 13 and 16 feet long in the Kogel Bay near Cape Town in 2012. The shark attacked him 3 times; sadly, the third attack was fatal as the animal completely removed Lilienfeld’s right leg at the hip. The paramedics couldn’t get to the injured man as the shark was still circling around his body. Lilienfeld died of massive blood loss, right on the scene.
Four shark attacks happened over just a 15-day period off the Pacific Coast of the US in 1984 – beginning with the gruesome death of an abalone diver Omar Conger. Cogner was treading water when his companion, Chris Rehm, saw a great white shark rear up out of the water behind him. The shark attacked Cogner and pulled him under the water. The shark then resurfaced and released Conger. Rehm pulled his friend onto their dive mat and swam ashore, but Conger bled to death in the water.
A group of beachgoers were enjoying swimming around the Lover’s Point on the Pacific coast of California in December 1952 when Barry Wilson, a 17 year-old musician, got attacked by a shark. The animal emerged from the water, sinking its teeth into Wilson while dragging him rapidly under water. When he reappeared, the water around him was churning with blood. Sadly, Wilson died due to the massive blood loss that resulted from his severe injuries.
TV presenter and a respected shark expert Erich Ritter was filming for the series Shark Week in the Bahamas in 2003 when he was attacked by a giant bull shark, losing almost all of his left calf in the process. Ironically, Ritter was trying to demonstrate his belief that sharks’ aggressive nature had been misunderstood when he was bitten by the shark. The spine-chilling attack was captured on camera, and it has been seen by more than 10 million people.
Heather Boswell was just 19 years old when she lost her leg in a terrifying shark attack in 1994. Boswell was swimming next to a boat off the coast of Chile when a huge great white shark, one of the scariest sharks to exist, clamped onto her leg and took her down under water. Fortunately, Boswell reappeared soon and her friends on the boat were able to grab and pull her out of the water before the shark could kill her.
Jana Lutteropp, a 20-year old German tourist, was enjoying her 3-week holiday on the Hawaiian island of Maui in August 2013, but unfortunately, the young woman never made it back home. Lutteropp was snorkeling just off Palauea Beach when a tiger shark attacked her, biting off her right arm. She was carried out of the water and transported to hospital where she was put on life support but died a week later.
In September 2001, the traditional end of summer turned tragic for the Peltier family in Virginia when their 10-year old boy David lost his life in a shark attack. Witnesses said David Peltier was playing with his friends in just 4 feet of water when the ominous figure of a shark swam through and attacked the boy. David’s father was surfing nearby, and he rushed to help his son, but the boy was bleeding heavily from the wounds and he died later in hospital.
In August 2007, Todd Endris was surfing at the Marina State Park off Monterey, California, when a great white shark approached him and nearly ripped his skin off his back. The shark would have probably finished the attack and kill Endris, but suddenly, a pod of bottlenose dolphins intervened, forming a protective ring around Endris, allowing him to get to shore, where quick first aid provided by a friend saved his life.
In 2015, Australian surfer Mick Fanning was about to ride a wave at a surf competition in the Jeffreys Bay off the coast of East Cape, South Africa, when a big shark appeared out of nowhere and attacked him. Fanning managed to stay calm and did everything right during the brief attack. He put the board between him and the shark, he avoided the mouth, he struck the shark, and then moved away. Right after the attack, Fanning was picked up by rescuers on jetskis.
On a sunny day in April 2015, 13-year-old surfing champion Elio Canestri went to surf in waters off the coast of the Indian Ocean island of Reunion where he and his family lived. While Elio and his friends were in the water, a shark grabbed the boy’s right arm and abdomen. A boat came to his rescue and removed him from the water, but he died soon after due to the massive blood loss he suffered.
Bryan Adona, aged 29, disappeared in February 1992, while bodyboarding near the Waimea Bay on the north shore of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. His board washed ashore the next morning with teeth marks made by what was believed to be a large tiger shark. Numerous witnesses, including the last person to see Adona alive, reported seeing a large shark in the vicinity prior to the deadly attack.
In December 1994, a veteran diver James Robinson, aged 42, was killed by a shark when scouting for sea urchins in the waters off San Miguel Island, California. Robinson was treading water near his boat when the shark swooped in for a swift attack. Crew members on Robinson’s boat tried to revive him but could not find a pulse. A Coast Guard helicopter rushed Robinson to Goleta Valley Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead of massive trauma.
In June 1959, Robert Pamperin was diving for sea snails off La Jolla Cove in California when his companion, Gerald Lehrer, heard him scream for help. Lehrer saw his friend upright and unnaturally high in the water with his mask missing. As he swam closer, Lehrer watched Pamperin slowly disappearing into the crimson waves and, diving beneath the surface, he saw his friend being dragged to the sea bed in the jaws of a giant shark. Searching the water for his remains, the US Coast Guard found only a single swim fin.
Deborah Franzman, aged 50, was killed by a shark as she swam alone within sight of beachgoers on the Avila Beach, California, in August 2003. Witnesses told investigators that Franzman was swimming among a pod of sea lions when the mammals suddenly vanished and something large and gray breached the water. Nobody saw the entire animal, but local authorities said the nature and severity of the attacks left little doubts it was a great white.
Mexican surfer Osvaldo Valdovinos, aged 21, was attacked and killed by a 6-foot shark while surfing at Pantla Beach off the Pacific Coast of Mexico in May 2008. The shark clamped down on his thigh, breaking his leg and leaving a massive wound before biting off the surfer’s hand. The next day, Bruce Grimes, a 49-year old American citizen, was injured after being bitten by a shark at the nearby Playa Linda.
In October 2008, Slovenian fisherman Damjan Pesek was swimming toward his boat with caught fish attached to his waist in the Smokvina Bay on the Vis Island, Croatia, when he was attacked by a huge great white shark. Pesek managed to grab the shark’s gills and stabbed it with an underwater gun, which enabled him to get to the boat where his friends helped him out of the water. Pesek survived the attack, but he remained disabled for the rest of his life.
Doreen Collyer, a 60-year old advanced open water diver and a nursing lecturer at the Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, was attacked and killed by a great white shark when scuba diving off the coast of Perth in June 2016. Just a few days before this tragic incident, a surfer lost his leg to a shark about 60 miles south of where Ms. Collyer was attacked.
In December 2013, Patrick Briney, a 57-year old resident of the Washington State, was fishing from a kayak off the Keawakapu Beach in the Makena State Recreation Area on Maui, Hawaii, when he was attacked by a shark. The animal clamped down on the man’s dangling foot, causing massive bleeding. Briney died while being transported to shore.
Fourteen-year old girl Jamie Daigle of Gonzales, Louisiana, and her friend Felicia Venable (also 14) were swimming about 200 yards offshore in the Gulf of Mexico near Destin, Florida, in June 2005 when they saw a dark shadow in the water. Daigle was severely bitten all over her lower body and she died on the scene of a massive blood loss. Witnesses estimated she was killed by a 6-8 ft long bull shark.
Spaniard Cristina Thies, aged 38, was on holiday with her family on the Canary island of Gran Canaria in December 2015 when she was bitten by a shark. The incident happened at the Arinaga Beach in Aguimes on Gran Canaria’s east coast, which is a popular area with divers. The shark clamped down on Thies’ hand, but she managed to fight off the beast and swim to the beach. Experts said the shark that attacked her probably was a big silky shark.
Russians Sergei Zaloukaev (28) and his girlfriend Natalia Slobodskaya (23) were attacked by a shark while swimming close to shore at Avon, North Carolina, in September 2001. Despite being severely injured by the animal, they both made it back to the shore, but this is where Zaloukaev died from his multiple injuries. Slobodskaya had lost her left foot and was severely bitten on her left hip but she survived.
When Thadeus Kubinski jumped to the water from the dock behind his home in Boca Ciega Bay, Florida, for his daily swim in August 2000, he had no idea it was going to be his very last swim. Despite being in just about 5 feet of water, Kubinski got attacked by what probably was a huge bull shark. According to the witnesses, the shark raced toward him with its dorsal fin out of the water. Kubinski died right on the scene of a massive blood loss and organ damage.
In November 1992, Aaron Romento, aged just 18, was attacked by a tiger shark while bodyboarding in shallow, clear water off the Keeau Beach Park on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Romento was just about 90 feet off-shore when the 12-foot tiger shark bit his right leg in 3 places. Romento died of blood loss a short time after swimming to shore. His friend said Romento did not even see the beast coming.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out 25 Facts About Sharks: Terrors Of The Ocean.
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Photos: 25. Pixabay.com (public domain), 24. Brocken Inaglory, Surfacing great white shark, CC BY-SA 3.0, 23. Elias Levy via flickr, CC BY 2.0 22. Hein waschefort, Attacking great white shark, CC BY-SA 3.0, 21. Elias Levy, Great White Shark (14730707169), CC BY 2.0, 20. Pterantula, Bullshark Beqa Fiji 2007, CC BY-SA 3.0, 19. Elias Levy, Great White Shark (14730796397), CC BY 2.0, 18. Albert kok, Tiger shark, CC BY-SA 3.0, 17. wikimedia commons (public domain), 16. pixabay.com (public domain), 15. Travelbag Ltd via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 14. Terry Goss, White shark, CC BY-SA 3.0, 13. shishihenge, Dusky shark seaworld, CC BY 2.0, 12. University of Aberdeen, Lemon-shark-at-the-Oregon-Coast-Aquarim1, CC BY-SA 4.0, 11. The original uploader was Dlloyd at English Wikipedia, Grey Reef Shark in Bora Bora, CC BY-3.0 unported, 10. Max Pixel (public domain), 9. Max Pixel (public domain), 8. Elias Levy via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 7. wikimedia commons (public domain), 6. Albert Kok (talk), Lemonshark, CC BY-SA 3.0, 5. Albert kok, Tigershark3, CC BY-SA 3.0, 4. Alex Chernikh, Carcharhinus falciformis off Cuba, CC BY-SA 3.0, 3. Lwp Kommunikáció via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 2. William Eburn, Carcharhinus perezi at Roatan2, CC BY 2.5, 1. Jwhferguson, Sand tiger RSA1, CC BY-SA 3.0