08/27/2001 William Goettel (Florida)

Shark Attack Survivors News Archive for Shark Attacks in 2001

08/27/2001 William Goettel (Florida)

Postby sharkbait » Sat Mar 19, 2005 1:31 am

Shark-bite tally climbs to 20


NEW SMYRNA BEACH — As the number of bites this year rose to 20 Monday, Beach Patrol officials said they were not going to risk injury to their people just to prevent someone from surfing with sharks.

William Goettel, 69, New Smyrna Beach, became the 10th victim of a shark encounter in the past 10 days about 4:30 p.m. Monday while swimming near the 27th Avenue beach approach.

According to Capt. Dave Williams of the Beach Patrol, Goettel told his officers he was in murky, waist-deep water when he felt something grab the heel of his left foot.

"He said it grabbed and then released," Williams said. "He never saw it."

Goettel left the scene by car after being treated by Beach Patrol officers. Williams said he stated he would seek further medical attention if he deemed it necessary.

"He identified himself as a retired medical worker," Williams said.

The attack occurred several miles south of another area of shark activity that has become a hotbed of controversy. In the face of growing challenges from the surfing community, Beach Patrol officials decided Monday to take no action against individuals violating the surfing and swimming ban south of Ponce de Leon Inlet.

Volusia County spokesman Dave Byron likened the situation to a hurricane evacuation.

"We do our best to warn people of the need to evacuate, but if people choose not to evacuate we do not arrest them," he said.

The Beach Patrol extended its surfing and swimming moratorium to a fifth day after officials flew over the one-mile stretch of sand between the south jetty and the Beachway Avenue beach approach early Monday and reported seeing more than 30 sharks in the water. An afternoon flight showed there were about a dozen sharks in the area.

Williams said the flyovers did not show any sharks in the area where Goettel was bitten, but they could have come in from deeper waters.

Goettel´s encounter raises the bite toll in Volusia waters to 10 since Aug. 18; seven of those incidents occurred in the area that is now closed.

However, the 3- to 4-foot waves Monday were too tempting for some, who decided to ignore warnings and closures.

"I am going to stand up for my rights," said one young surfer. "I believe it is my right to go surfing."

The surfer, who declined to give his name, defied a Beach Patrol officer´s orders not to enter the water shortly after 11:30 a.m. He surfed for about an hour before coming back to shore to be greeted by a horde of television reporters with cameras and microphones.

"Why don´t you all go home," he said while being peppered with questions.

Deputy Chief Joe Wooden said his supervisors, including Volusia County Director of Public Protection Terry Moore, decided early Monday afternoon they were not willing to risk the safety of their officers to keep surfers out of the water, sharks or no sharks.

"The surfing community was getting defiant," Wooden said. "And it was realized while there was still a danger we did not want to put our employees in harm´s way."

Wooden said the Beach Services department had heard rumors of a "mass paddle" protest by local surfers in the closed area and that possibility was weighed as part of the department´s decision.

So instead of greeting surfers with handcuffs, officers warned them sharks were still in the water but did nothing to stop those who were determined to enter the surf.

"We are trying to settle things down and not create additional hostilities," Wooden said.

Once word spread that no arrests would be made, other surfers quickly headed out to enjoy the waves.

Dan Marlow of New Smyrna Beach said it felt good to be back on the water.

"It is really clean out there and there aren´t many people," he said. "It´s a good day."

Marlow said sharks are part of surfing and placed the blame for the moratorium on the media, saying it needed to move on to something else.

Byron admitted public relations was a factor in the county´s decision to make the water off-limits, but safety was the primary issue.

"Our philosophy on the beach is to keep people safe in a non- confrontational way. There is no need to get into a confrontation and arrest someone for doing something foolish," he said.

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Shark bites swimmer off New Smyrna Beach

Postby Guest » Mon Apr 18, 2005 9:19 pm

Aug. 27. 2001
Shark bites swimmer off New Smyrna Beach;
Surfers ignore warnings to hang ten
Volusia County , FLorida
NEW SMYRNA BEACH – A shark nipped a swimmer off New Smyrna Beach this afternoon, the 10th person in eight days to suffer a shark bite in Volusia County and the 20th this year.

William Goettel , 69, was swimming near the 27th Ave. beach ramp at about 4:30 p.m. when he felt something grab his left heel, according to Capt. Dave Williams of the Volusia County Beach Patrol. Goettel told Beach Patrol officers he did not see the creature that bit his heel and then let go because the water was murky, Williams said.

Flyovers of the beach earlier in the day showed no sharks in the area of the 27th Avenue approach.

Goettel left the scene in his own vehicle after being treated by Beach Patrol officers and said he would go to the hospital if he believed stitches were necessary, Williams said.

Further north, surfers unconcerned about the possibility of shark bites ventured into waters closed since last week by the Beach Patrol, despite warnings that they surfers would not be rescued if they got into trouble.

A one-mile stretch of beach south of Ponce Inlet will officially remain closed, at least until Tuesday, because of concerns about large numbers of sharks patrolling the shoreline. The Beach patrol surveyed the waters throughout the day today and concluded the waters were not safe for swimming or surfing.

But surfers lured by good surf conditions defied the county's order today and went into the water anyway. Although the Beach Patrol warned last week that it might arrest anyone who tried to go into the water, it took a hands-off approach today. The surfers were just warned that lifeguards would not put their own safety at risk to rescue anyone in the no-surf, no-swim zone.

The one-mile stretch of beach between the inlet and the Beachway Avenue beach approach has been closed to water activity since Thursday after nine people were bitten along the New Smyrna Beach coastline in the past week.

The most recent bite occurred Saturday in front of the Flagler Avenue Beach approach, south of the closed area.

However, seven of the nine bites, have taken place in the restricted area. All the victims were either surfing or riding boogey boards when they were bitten.

SaturdayÂ’s bite was the 19th of the year, which broke the previous bite record of 18 in 1996.

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