Shark Attack at Beach in Virginia Kills Boy, David Peltier 10 A 10-year-old boy died early today after he was bitten in the leg by a shark while surfing at Sandbridge Beach
Published: September 3, 2001
A 10-year-old boy died early today after he was bitten in the leg by a shark while surfing at Sandbridge Beach here. It was the first fatal shark attack in the United States this year and the first one reported in the area in about 30 years.
The boy, David Peltier of Richmond, died at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk at 3:45 a.m. The attack occurred on Saturday. The bite opened a 17-inch gash and severed an artery in David's left leg, and he lost a lot of blood, officials said.
The boy was with his father, Richard Peltier, and two brothers in about four feet of water on a sandbar about 150 feet from shore when the shark attacked him, Ed Brazle, division chief for Emergency Medical Services in Virginia Beach, said.
The shark released David from its jaws after Mr. Peltier hit it on the head. Mr. Peltier carried his son ashore, where witnesses and lifeguards administered first aid. Mr. Peltier was treated for a hand injury.
Sandbridge Beach is a remote coastal community of vacation homes in the city of Virginia Beach.
Maylon White, curator of the city's Virginia Marine Science Museum, said the shark was probably a sandbar shark. Sandbar sharks are typically four feet to six feet long and not usually aggressive, Mr. White said.
Forty-nine shark attacks have occurred around the world this year, with one previous fatal attack, in Brazil, said George Burgess of the International Shark Attack File in Gainesville, Fla. Twenty-eight attacks have been in Florida waters.
Last year, 84 shark attacks occurred, 53 of them in the United States, Mr. Burgess said.
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