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1988/08/13 Ann Hadden - Florida

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1988/08/13 Ann Hadden - Florida

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Shark kills PCB man

appeal.Shark kills PCB man

Staff writer

A Panama City Beach man was killed and a Georgia couple slightly injured Tuesday afternoon in separate shark attacks offshore St. Andrews State Recreational Area.

John P. Martin, 38, was killed at about 2:15 p.m. near the east jetty at the park, according to a Florida Marine Patrol press release.

About 35 minutes later near the west jetty, the Georgia couple were attacked by a 5- to 6-foot-long shark. Dennis Hadden, 42, and his wife, Ann Hadden, 41, received puncture wounds and abrasions to their hands in the attack. They were treated and released from Bay Medical Center Tuesday night.

Immediately after the attacks, an FMP plane, Panama City Beach police, Bay County sheriff's deputies and state park rangers warned swimmers along the shore of the shark attacks and to stay out of the water. Beachgoers also are warned to stay out of the water today.

Authorities were unsure Tuesday night whether the same shark was responsible for both attacks, as well as what kind of shark was responsible.


The shark attacked Martin while he was swimming in 8 feet of water about 100 yards from the east jetty on the Gulf of Mexico side of Shell Island, according to FMP. Witnesses said the shark, which was estimated between 6 and 10 feet long, attacked Martin three times before leaving the area, the release said.

A man in a pleasure boat attempted to assist Martin, but was unsuccessful, said FMP officer Jerry Shores. The man then telephoned the FMP and Coast Guard, which retrieved the body, Shores said.

Skipper Lark, who said he witnessed through binoculars the retrieval of Martin's body, was critical of the time it took the Coast Guard personnel to get Martin from the water. Lark said a Coast Guard boat pulled up alongside where the body ``was bobbing in the surf.'' But he said it was five to seven minutes before a Coast Guardsman and another person pulled the body out of the surf, after Lark ``hollered at them'' to do something.

Medical Examiner William Sybers said Martin's death was caused by drowning, but that Martin apparently had been pulled under water by a shark. Sybers said Martin had wounds on his lower right leg and right thigh, as well as bites on his hands. Those bites were ``almost defensive-type'' wounds Martin received in trying to fend off the shark, Sybers said.

Sybers said the width of the shark's bite measured 14 inches.

****** Hadden******


The Haddens said they were attacked by a 6-foot-long shark and received minor injuries before escaping to shore.

Dennis and Ann Hadden were on a snorkeling outing at Shell Island with 10 other people when the shark attacked them. Witnesses said the victims had been part of a snorkeling expedition on board the Captain Scuba II.

The couple, from McDonough, Ga., were wading onto Shell Island's beach in about 4 to 4{ feet of water when Dennis Hadden felt something brush past his legs.

``It didn't bother me when it came by,'' Dennis Hadden said. ``She (his wife) was scared. I kept saying it was just a dolphin.''

He said the shark then circled his wife, who was a few feet in front of him.

``The first time I knew it was a shark was when it came out and grabbed her forearm,'' he said. ``It wasn't like a fast attack. It was slow. It just eased out of the water and clamped down.''

When he saw the shark bite his wife's arm, Dennis Hadden kicked out at it. ``I just saw it bite and my first thing was to kick it. It let go of her and I was able to step between the two,'' he said. ``I hit it and kicked it several times. The top of it is just like rough sandpaper.''

Dennis Hadden said he kept punching the shark as he and his wife backed toward the shore.

``When the waves broke, it broke off. It swam over to our left,'' he said. ``I didn't whip the shark, it just went.''

After the shark broke off its attack, the couple got up on shore and were taken back to their snorkling boat before being transported to the state park by the Coast Guard, he said.

The shark may have been involved in a third attack after leaving the Haddens, according to Mike Brim, a U.S Fish and Wildlife marine biologist who arrived at Shell Island shortly after the second attack.

Brim spoke with a witness, who said ``a guy was sitting on the edge of some boat. It (the shark) grabbed his swim fin and bit it.'' Witnesses said the shark was dark in color and appeared to be between 6 and 8 feet long.

The last known shark attack in the waters off Bay County occurred near the state park jetties in the mid-1970s, Brim said, when a child was bitten on the arm.

The only known fatality occurred in the early 1960s, when a diver was attacked about eight miles off shore, Brim said.


Despite the last recorded shark attack being more than 10 years ago, a local surfer said Tuesday that there have been several shark sightings along the beaches in the last week.

Mark Santoli, of Panama City Beach, said that a friend and another surfer had been ``bumped'' by a shark last weekend when the waves were up.

``The shark, before it attacks, bumps (its victim) to see how big and strong it is,'' Santoli said. ``They said the shark that was doing it was about 8 feet long.

``I wish they'd go ahead and blow it out of the water.'' Santoli said.

John Jones, of Galvez, La., was in the park when Martin's body and the Haddens arrived at the dock. He watched as the body and the two injured people were taken from boats.

``My reaction was, I was thinking about the movie Jaws -- just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water,'' Jones said.

But Jones said he likely will go swimming during the remaining one or two days he is in Panama City Beach.

``We don't go out very far,'' he said.

``I don't know,'' he added, laughing, ``I hear they haven't had a (fatal) shark attack out here for 30 years. So we can probably swim another 30 years, don't you think so?''

(Staff Writer Mark Horvit contributed to this report.)
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