09/26/2009 Dan Callahan ( Florida )

Listing of the Shark Attack Related Incidents occurring in 2009. 2009 Shark Attacks

09/26/2009 Dan Callahan ( Florida )

Postby sharkbait » Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:27 am

Callahan never thought twice about it. But on Sept. 26, within seconds of diving into the water for a "farewell swim," he was attacked by an estimated 8-foot bull shark.

Keys swim turns into shark attack, 130 stitches
Snowbird's foot gets chomped by 8-foot beast

By RYAN McCARTHY
rmccarthy@keynoter.com
Posted - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 08:09 AM EDT


dan_callahan2.jpg
DAN CALLAHAN
dan_callahan2.jpg (17.14 KiB) Viewed 5481 times


dan_callahan.jpg
Courtesy DAN CALLAHAN
This is what a shark bite looks like after 130 stitches, inside and outside the foot.
dan_callahan.jpg (21.21 KiB) Viewed 5481 times

Courtesy DAN CALLAHAN
This is what a shark bite looks like after 130 stitches, inside and outside the foot.

The person who just bought Daniel Callahan's 5th Street home in Key Colony Beach might think twice before taking a dip in the 120-foot-wide canal running behind it.

Callahan never thought twice about it. But on Sept. 26, within seconds of diving into the water for a "farewell swim," he was attacked by an estimated 8-foot bull shark.

The shark bit Callahan's right foot, causing a gash that required more than 130 stitches at Marathon's Fishermen's hospital.

According to University of Florida research biologist Andrew Piercy, it was the first recorded shark attack in the Keys in 2009. He said of 17 total attacks in the United States this year, 12 have been in Florida. None were fatal.

Callahan, who lives in Washington, D.C., recently sold his Keys home, owned by his family for 35 years and by him and wife Karen for the past nine. He was in town clearing personal effects out of it.

"My kids have grown and I wasn't using the place. We decided to sell. We finally got the place sold and my ritual was to swim in the canal, which I've been doing since I was a kid," Callahan said. "I've seen hammerhead [sharks], bull [sharks], tarpon, manatee -- just about anything you can imagine over the years ... Never really thought much of it."

Callahan said he had finished packing several boxes and around 5:30 p.m., decided to take a swim in the canal. By 5:31, it was all over.

"Everything probably took less than 30 seconds," he said. "I dove in and I get hit from behind on my right foot. It really felt more like a hammer or a sledgehammer. It starts to pull me down. I turn and see the shark with my foot in its mouth, and with my left leg kick it with all of my might. I know a little bit about sharks, so I knew I needed to get loose."

Things went from bad to worse when, in a panic, Callahan neglected to use a ladder he'd set against the seawall to get out after the swim, opting for another ladder instead.

"I hit the shark on the nose; it releases me for a couple seconds; I take two or three massive strokes over to the seawall and, without even thinking, climb up [a] barnacle-encased ladder. That immediately puts a nice big barnacle through my left foot, but I didn't even feel that," he said.

Dorothy Griffith, daughter of Callahan's good friend Tod Griffith, was the only witness.

She, Tod and Callahan's daughter Katie rushed Daniel to the emergency room, but not before wrapping his foot with a T-shirt and duct tape to try to stop the bleeding.

"They rolled me in and tried to get the bleeding under control and start meds and tetanus shots and all that. They asked, Did I want to be flown out? And I said, 'No, let's get this under control,'" Callahan said.

A few hours later, he was bandaged up and is now back home in Washington, resting. He said he hopes the attack will make other people think twice before diving into canals.

"Over the years, the canals have gotten dirtier. The sharks and other animals come in there to feed. What I'm thankful for is God forbid if it had been my daughter or my wife," he said.

A lifelong water enthusiast, Callahan said the shark attack won't deter him from getting back in the ocean.

"This wasn't the shark's fault. I'll go back to diving and I have no fear of diving. I'm happy to have my foot right now," he said.

And he'll have a chance very soon to revisit the scene if he chooses. Callahan is in the wine and spirits business, and will be back in the Keys selling "as soon as I can walk."


http://www.keysnet.com/news/story/147736.html
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