Shark attack survivor Frank Wacha is catching some backlash for adding shark to his restaurant’s menu this coming weekend. Mr. Wacha commorates each anniversary of his bite by serving shark at his establishment. This year, he has been getting some push back from those who think it is inhumane or illegal.
||Bitten several times on left arm
||Jensen Beach, Martin County
MONTEREY, Calif. — Eric Tarantino wasn’t thinking he was going to get bitten by a great white.
Dawn patrol, the surf was up, and the 29-year-old was paddling for a wave in the early morning light on Oct. 29, 2011, at Marina State Beach just north of Monterey.
Then something hit him like a truck.
“I didn’t see it, I didn’t hear it, I didn’t have any idea. That first hit, it’s so powerful. It’s disorienting, but you know what’s happening.”
This was not a tentative exploration. This great white had made up its mind that Tarantino was on the menu for the day.
The shark, estimated at 16 to 17 feet in length, impaled Tarantino’s red surfboard with the sharp pointy teeth of its lower jaw while the serrated teeth of its upper jaw closed on his shoulder and head, striking a glancing blow to his face and neck, then settling on his arm.
It then dove down, deep and fast, carrying him toward the bottom.
Tarantino opened his eyes. “It was quiet, and I couldn’t hear anything. I was just conscious of myself being pulled. I didn’t see a single fin on it. I didn’t see its white underbelly. All I saw, when I saw it, was gray, like a wall.”
He kicked at the shark. The sides felt like cement. It either released him, or his arm popped free. He found his board and paddled ashore with his surfing partner, Brandon McKibben, of Salinas, his arm pumping blood into the water.
“I knew I was hurt, but I couldn’t feel any pain.”
He thought if he could just get to the parking lot, he’d be OK. He noticed suddenly a lot of people were on the beach.
“They helped me so much,” he said. One man who applied a tourniquet to his arm knew what to do because he had survived a great white shark attack himself.
Tarantino was flown to a hospital where his wounds were stitched. The bite had missed the carotid artery in his neck by a millimeter. If it had been nicked, he could have bled to death within minutes.
Now he lives on the beachfront in Monterey and works in a family business.
He eventually returned to surfing, although he doesn’t go in the early morning or evening, and he waits until there are a few other people in the water.
He has not gone back to Marina State Beach, which is known for having great whites.
“I think about it. I think about sharks. I try to reduce the chance that it could ever happen again because you hear all these statistics, because you hear that there’s a chance of 1 in 50 billion, whatever they say, that you’re more likely to get killed by bees. But I’m not around bee farms all day, I’m in the water all day.”
was surfing on the California coast when he was attacked by a great white shark. The high school student battled to free his leg from the 12ft fish’s jaws as it dragged him underwater.
Shark attack survivor back in the water
Shark attack survivor back in the water
Thu, 28 Feb 2013 6:07p.m.
Shark Survivor – Andrea Rush
Despite Muriwai beach remaining closed, one shark attack survivor says she wouldn’t hesitate getting back in the water.
Andrea Rush was almost killed when a shark attacked her two decades ago.
Ms Rush was swimming in Vanuatu when the shark came out of nowhere. She lost half her blood just getting back to the boat and still has the scars from the attack.
Since then she has been diving with sharks and completed ocean swims, but says there are places she won’t swim.
“With Muriwai there were fishermen and there is a seal colony off Oaia Island that has been growing in the last 10 years, and great whites do breed in our harbours – the Manukau and Kaipara – and so do other sharks, so they are there,” says Ms Rush. “You can potentially avoid swimming around fishermen and avoid seal colonies. I know in Australia the risks are higher in those places but nobody would’ve even known the risks cause it never happened at Muriwai, so it was unexpected.”
She knows the Muriwai community after growing up there, but never met Adam Strange.
“We have quite a few mutual friends in common, so that made it feel even more close to home really. My heart goes out to his family and his friends.”
Yesterday’s attack reminds Ms Rush how lucky she was to survive.
“I’d like to think I have a healthy fear of sharks like anyone else, but I wouldn’t let it keep me out of the water. I just avoid those places that could be dangerous.”
And that was advice that was heeded today – despite re-opening, Auckland’s other west coast beaches remained deserted.
Life after shark attack — taking challenges one step at a time
Take life’s challenges one step at a time.
That’s the message Nicole Moore delivered at the 2013 Industry Luncheon, held at Best Western PLUS Orangeville Inn & Suites on Thursday (Feb. 21).
The luncheon, hosted by the Greater Dufferin Home Builders Association, Rotary Club and the Greater Dufferin Area Chamber of Commerce, aims to unite a cross section of businesses from throughout Dufferin County.
“Life is too short to be anything but happy,” Moore said.
She is no stranger to challenge. The 40-year-old nurse at Headwaters Health Care Centre was attacked by a shark while vacationing in Cancun during January of 2011.
“I don’t wish to be identified as the shark lady, I go with it,” Moore said. “One moment should not define you, but they should strengthen you.”
Moore was bitten twice during the attack, which left her femur bone exposed and led to the amputation of her left arm.
“It bit through me like butter,” she said.
During her speech, Moore detailed a gruelling, and ongoing, recovery from her injuries.
While doctors have fitted her with a prosthetic arm, nerve damage hinders her ability to adapt.
“I can wear it for a couple of hours, but by night time I’m in tears,” Moore said.
She has accepted the fact that the attack has eliminated some once-common activities like playing volleyball or even tying her hair in a ponytail.
“I’m that woman who always had her hair up,” Moore said. “What’s even more heartbreaking is I can’t do my daughters’ hair.”
Moore told the luncheon audience that when facing obstacles, it’s important to continue moving forward.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward,” Moore said, quoting Martin Luther King Jr. “What ever you do, keep moving forward.”
Although her reality has changed, Moore has set goals for herself. She hopes to once again be able to run, cycle and ski.
“I’m just starting to get those muscles back that I’ll be able to run,’ she said.
In an effort to reach her goals, Moore signed up for the Warrior Dash – a 5 km obstacle course held annually in Horseshoe Valley.
“I did everything except one obstacle and I wasn’t the last to finish,” she explained. “I needed to complete this to say obstacles won’t stop me.”
The Orangeville-area woman is often told, “I could never do what you did.” However, she disagrees with that statement.
“I tell people you never know what you’re capable of until you’re actually faced with it,” Moore said. “We are built to survive — it’s in us. You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”
Moore offers simple advice to hopeful travellers.
“The biggest people of advice I can give you is a card. A card with all your pertinent information on it,” Moore said. “It’s a simple thing and its takes five minutes to put together.”
Moore also told the luncheon she has recently signed a book deal and plans to tackle the Warrior Dash for a second round.
“All that really matters is we keep moving forward,” Moore said.
German shark bite victim doing well; Vero Beach lifeguard who swam to her in May to receive Medal of Valor
VERO BEACH — The family of shark bite victim Karin Stei is helping to ensure other visitors to the city’s beaches can get the care needed if a life is endangered as the German tourist’s was last May.
Karin Ulrike Stei, 47, of Konstanz, Germany is tended to by rescue workers after being attacked by a shark in Vero Beach.
Contributed photo/Vero Beach Police Department
Stei’s brother, Peter, has been keeping in regular contact with lifeguard Erik Toomsoo, who swam out to her rescue last year after she was bitten by a shark May 9 in water northeast of Humiston Beach Park.
Contributed photo by Vero Beach Police Department Karin Ulrike Stei, 47, of Konstanz, Germany is tended to by rescue workers after being attacked by a shark in Vero Beach on Wednesday, May 9, 2012.
“We’re glad to see that she’s improving,” said Toomsoo Monday.
Toomsoo was recently notified that he will be receiving the Medal of Valor from the United States Lifesaving Association for his role in saving Karin Stei last May. He views the award as an opportunity to further promote water safety.
Peter Stei has donated $3,800 to Toomsoo’s Vero Beach Lifeguard Association, whose mission is to promote water safety and lifeguarding in Vero Beach and the surrounding communities.
In a recent email to Toomsoo, Peter Stei describes how his sister is faring these days in her recovery from the bite that removed a large portion of her upper left thigh.
“Karin’s condition is rather good, taking into account what she had experienced,” wrote Stei. “She has returned to work and leads a rather normal life, including activities like cycling or going for short walks. Also driving a car is possible.
“The very good fact is that the covering of the wound by skin transplantation from her right thigh to the injured left has been very successful. Her doctors (are) amazed/astonished how fast the new skin has grown. Of course, stair climbing is a challenge but living in the fourth floor without an elevator gives her a good workout on a daily basis. The shark has removed some of the musculature necessary for stabilization of the knee joint, but luckily not the most important one.
“Karin is strong, she takes the good things out of all situations and is very willing to overcome the accident as good as possible. Her friends still help her and also her employer has show an exceptional commitment and support,” wrote Stei.
Stei wrote that he hardly would have thought she would be back to such a life considering her condition after returning to Germany last May and gave his best regards to all who helped her in Vero Beach.
The Vero Beach Lifeguard Association has raised more than $10,000 through such fundraising activities as selling calendars from its website, and makes presentations to local schools about water safety.
The organization on Feb. 19 will be presenting a check for $1,500 to the city for the purchase of a rescue skid for use with the city’s new, upgraded all-terrain vehicle in the transport of injured beachgoers.
Toomsoo was sweeping the steps along the Humiston Beach Park boardwalk last May when he spotted Stei, surrounded by blood, about 30 yards offshore and quickly dove into the waters, grabbed her, and swam her to safety.
He was one of a number of lifeguards, other rescue personnel and civilians who quickly came to her aid that day.
Others involved in the rescue included Michigan tourist Dave Daniels who also swam out to Stei and, along with others, assisted Toomsoo in getting her on the beach and providing first aid. Lifeguards Shanna Beard, Tim Capra, and Jordan Farrow along with police, Indian River County Fire Rescue personnel, and Martin County emergency workers who were in a Lifestar helicopter flying overhead at the time of the attack, also played key roles.
In addition to the lifesaving association’s medal of valor, Toomsoo is under consideration for a Carnegie Medal, an honor that recognizes those who risk their lives to save others.
Toomsoo and others were interviewed last August about the May incident as part of a series on such shark attacks expected to be shown this summer on the National Geographic WILD channel. Toomsoo recreated some scenes from the rescue effort for the show’s producers. The series is expected to feature some other attacks that have taken place along the Treasure Coast.
Toomsoo said there were 30 rescues from the three Vero Beach beaches last year, up about 25 percent from the prior year.
The number of visitors to the city’s beaches was also up about 13 percent last year, which is in line with an increase in activity that Toomsoo said he has noticed personally.
“I’m just seeing more people from all over the place,” said Toomsoo.