SOLANA BEACH, Calif. — A shark believed to be a great white killed a 66-year-old swimmer with a single, giant bite across both legs Friday as the man trained with a group of triathletes, authorities and witnesses said.
Dave Martin, a retired veterinarian from Solana Beach, was attacked at San Diego County’s Tide Beach around 7 a.m., authorities and family friend Rob Hill said.
“They saw him come up out of the water, scream ‘Shark!,’ flail his arms and go back under,” Hill said. “The flesh was just hanging,” and Martin may have bled to death before he left the water, Hill said.
Martin was taken to a lifeguard station for emergency treatment but was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a statement on the Solana Beach city Web site. His injuries crossed both thighs, San Diego County sheriff’s Sgt. Randy Webb said.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography shark expert Richard Rosenblatt says the shark was probably a great white between 12 and 17 feet long.
“It looks like the shark came up, bit him, and swam away,” said Dismas Abelman, the Solana Beach deputy fire chief.
There was a single bite across both of Martin’s legs, Abelman said.
The attack took place about 150 yards offshore. Several swimmers wearing wetsuits were in a group when the shark attacked, lifeguard Craig Miller said. Two swimmers were about 20 yards ahead of Martin when they heard him scream for help. They turned around and dragged him back to shore.
Swimmers were ordered out of the water for a 17-mile stretch around the attack site and county authorities sent up helicopters to scan the waters for the shark. Eight miles of beach were closed.
“The shark is still in the area. We’re sure of that,” Mayor Joe Kellejian said.