'Surfing' shark bites man near Jensen Beach
By Mike Bender
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
JENSEN BEACH — A 4-foot shark spent several hours swimming just offshore Monday afternoon before biting a surfer on the left foot.
"It was a good bite, but pretty minor for a shark bite," lifeguard Mike Mammen said. "This is the first time in a while that we've had a shark bite around here."
The Miami man, who witnesses said was in his 30s, was surfing off an unguarded beach about 150 yards north of Jensen Beach. He was taken to Martin Memorial Medical Center after the encounter. Details were unavailable, but the bite did not appear to be serious.
The beach remained open after the incident.
Bruce Shaw, Martin County marine safety captain, said the bite was likely a result of the shark not being able to see in the murky water. Shaw said there was no sign of excessive bait fish swimming in the ocean.
"It's the Atlantic Ocean," Shaw said. "Sharks are out there all the time."
Steve Ensor and his family were sitting on the beach watching about a dozen surfers while the shark swam closer to the shore for several hours before biting the man.
Ensor and his family said the shark appeared to be body surfing. It was so close to the shore at one point that most of the animal's body was exposed, they said.
"I've been sitting here for 25 years and I've never seen a shark body surf like that before," Ensor said.
"They all knew about it," Ensor said of the surfers. "We watched it for a few hours."
There were nine surfers still in the water less than a half hour after the bite.
"I've been watching and I haven't seen anything," said Thomas Danti, 19, while taking a break on the beach.
Mike Gagnon, 32, of West Palm Beach left the beach after the bite. He said another surfer cut his back earlier.
"There was blood all over the place," Gagnon said.
No one could identify the type of shark.
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