Vietnamese province puts bounty on “shark” after 10 recent attacks
Authorities at Quy Nhon City, Binh Dinh Province have announced a reward for anybody who catches a large fish, believed to be a shark, that recently attacked people who bathed at the city’s beach.
The beach where some people were attacked by unidentified fish.
Around 10 people bathers have been attacked since July 2009. On January 9 alone, three were attacked.
On January, Nguyen Minh Tuan, lecturer at the Quy Nhon University, was bathing 100 meters off Quy Nhon Town at around 6.45 a.m. when something bit his left arm twice before swimming away.
A man fishing nearby came to rescue Tuan, who later had to undergo two-hour surgery at the local Army Medical Hospital No.13.
Tuan said the fish had grey, rough skin, and looked like it weighed 20-30 kilograms.
Mang Duc Hanh, another staff member of the university, meanwhile, was attacked at around 5 p.m. the same day when he was bathing in the same area off Quy Nhon Town.
Hanh was bitten twice on his right wrist, damaging arteries and nerves. He was transferred to the Ho Chi Minh City-based Cho Ray Hospital from the local Binh Dinh General Hospital on Monday morning due to the sever nature of his injuries.
“The fish’s skin was a bit smooth and I think it probably weighed around 35-40 kilograms. I’m absolutely sure it was a shark,” Hanh told Thanh Nien.
The fish was also reported to have attacked a local woman, causing minor injuries to her the same day.
Thai Ngoc Bich, chairman of Quy Nhon City, said the fish was likely to be a shark, stressing that they would take actions, including offering a reward to those who could catch it.
Nguyen Huu Hao, chief of Binh Dinh Provincial Bureau for Aquatic Resources Exploration and Protection, said that the agency has arranged a boat to patrol the beach during peak hours. Hao has also proposed to set up a rescue station on the beach.
Binh Dinh authorities have asked the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute to help verify the species and whether there might be more than one. The institute’s vice director Vo Si Tuan led a group of experts to Quy Nhon on January 12 to be briefed on the situation and visit victims.
Nguyen Quang Huynh, 57, the first victim of the fish on July 18 2009 said that he and four friends swam in the sea in the morning. All of them were good swimmers so they bathed far from the shore. Around 150m from the bank, Huynh was suddenly bitten by a fish to his right leg. A piece of muscle as big as a hand was bitten away, uncovering the bone.
Huynh’s friends brought him to a local hospital. He had to stay in hospital for one month to treat the injury.
Local fishermen said they sometimes caught small sharks of between 5 and 7kg in this area. However, sharks are more likely to swim near the shore between March and August.
Dr. Tuan from the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute said that initially, experts can only confirm that a fish caused the injuries but they have to carry out further research to clarify the species.
Another expert from the institute, Vo Van Quang, said that it is very difficult to identify the fish that attacked people because the most modern equipment can only detect shoals of fish, not individuals.
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