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08/17/2001 Kent Bonde (Bahamas)

Shark Attack Survivors News Archive for Shark Attacks in 2001
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Spear fisherman Kent Bonde

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08/17/01 Grand Bahamas
Spear fisherman Kent Bonde lay in a Jackson Memorial Hospital bed Friday, a chunk of his calf in the belly of a Bahamian shark.

Bonde, 43, of Miami Shores, was attacked -- by a bull shark, he thinks -- while spearfishing a day earlier. He was in 15 feet of water near High Rock on the southeastern section of Grand Bahama Island.

It wasn't the shark's fault, he said.

``We are not part of their menu,'' Bonde said. ``It's their ocean. We are taking a calculated risk.''

Thursday's attack -- the second in two weeks there -- triggered some concerns about what might lurk under the emerald ocean.

``Stay out of the water,'' advised Dr. Tamara Burke, an emergency room physician who initially treated Bonde at Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport.

``It's quite unusual to get two shark bites in the same island in two weeks. Obviously there is a phenomenon going on that we don't understand yet.''

But shark scientists repeated the message they've issued since 8-year-old Jessie Arbogast was mauled off the Florida Panhandle seven weeks ago: The notion of a shark stalking humans is pure fiction.

``It may sound logical that they're connected, but it's not biologically logical,'' said Samuel Gruber, a University of Miami professor and internationally renowned shark authority.

While it is possible the same shark was involved in the two Bahamian attacks, Gruber said, ``There is a possibility it was a Tyrannosaurus rex, too.''

Bonde said he had been fishing for a couple of hours for hogfish with his wife and a friend -- all certified scuba instructors.

``It was like a freight train,'' he said. ``I turned around and saw blood. There was no pain. I felt the ripping.''

At the time, Bonde, who works for the city of Miami Beach's Redevelopment Agency, was going up for air and had no bloody fish on his spear. The attack, around 4 p.m., took him by surprise.

``I called for help and swam back over to her,'' he said, referring to his wife. ``There was blood everywhere.''


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On the boat his wife applied pressure to the wound. The party called for an ambulance and rushed back to land.

Burke, the emergency room doctor at Rand, said Bonde's life was never in danger.

``He didn't lose a significant amount of blood, but he lost a significant amount of muscle and tissue -- a third to half of his calf muscle,'' she said.

Lincoln Jones, 53, who leads charters in Green Turtle Cay, said the sport can be dangerous: ``If you are spearfishing, don't stay in one place too long -- they'll come after you.''

Shark attacks, scientists say, are almost always random, and this year's total, despite the ``Summer of the Shark'' media stories, is fairly typical.

``It's causing a panic that doesn't need to be caused,'' said Terri Behling, spokeswoman for the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.

Researchers at the center refused to field questions Friday after being deluged in the wake of attacks on the Arbogast boy as well as New York tourist Krishna Thompson off Freeport two weeks ago and the schooling of sharks off Anclote Key near St. Petersburg this week.

``It's been so out of control this week,'' Behling said.

Bonde was the 32nd person reported bitten by a shark worldwide this year, including one who died. Twenty-one were in U.S. waters, including 16 off Florida.

That compares to 79 last year worldwide, 51 in the United States and 34 off Florida.

According to statistics compiled by the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of History in Gainesville, the Bahamas have had a low frequency of shark incidents -- 39 confirmed attacks in more than a century, including only three off Grand Bahama. Two of those came in the last two weeks.

``I look at this with a jaundiced eye,'' said UM's Gruber. ``We're still talking about incredibly small numbers here.''

Other than occurring off the same island, there appeared to be few similarities.

Bonde was more than 30 miles from the beach at Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort where Thompson was hit.

Thompson was wading in shallow water just yards from the beach. Bonde was snorkeling in 15 to 20 feet of water.
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08/17/2001 Kent Bonde (Bahamas)

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8/17/2001 Kent Bonde 43 Calf Grand Bahamas Bahamas Bahamas Spearfishing Bull Shark
Last edited by sharkbait on Sat Jul 14, 2007 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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