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Great white shark responsible for attack off Cape Cod, officials confirm

Marine officials in Massachusetts have confirmed that a great white shark attacked a man who was body surfing with his teenage son off the coast of Cape Cod last week.

Chris Myers, 50, was attacked on July 30 off Ballston Beach in Truro, Mass., just after the dark silhouette of a shark emerged between him and his son. Myers and his 16-year-old son, J.J., had swum out to a sandbar about 400 to 500 feet from the beach when they decided to turn around and head back to shore.  

Experts had suspected a great white shark was responsible for the attack but did not confirm it until Wednesday.


Of the attack, Myers said the first thing he felt was the shark biting into his left foot.

"It felt like I had my foot stuck in a refrigerator or a vise," he said last week from his hospital bed at Massachusetts General Hospital. "I knew instantly that it was a shark."

The shark bit Myers on both his legs, leaving four puncture wounds; Myers responded by kicking the animal in the snout. Myers later underwent surgery to repair torn tendons, receiving 47 stitches to close the wounds. 

He said he can now walk on crutches and can even take a few steps on his own.

Greg Skomal, a marine biologist with the state Division of Marine Fisheries, and George Burgess of the International Shark File, an organization that tracks shark bites, determined a great white had bitten Myers based on an examination of the man's injuries and account of the incident.

Skomal, the state's top shark expert, told The Associated Press that he thought the attack was the work of a great white, portrayed menacingly in the 1975 cult classic, "Jaws." Great whites are typically between 15 to 20 feet long and can weigh more than 5,000 pounds, according to National Geographic. The shark can detect just one drop of blood in 25 gallons of water and can sense the tiniest amount of blood in water for up to three miles.

But contrary to popular belief, however, they don't roam the seas searching for humans to feast on.

Skomal told the Boston Globe that Myers is the first person to attacked by a great white in Massachusetts since 1936, when a teenager was killed by one.

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Skomal said the number of great white sightings off the Massachusetts coast is probably due to the growing number of seals. Great whites are known to feed on seals.

Myers was released from the hospital Friday and plans to return home to Colorado next week. 

"I feel very lucky to have made it back to that beach in one piece, very very lucky that my son did not get bitten and very thrilled that the two of us are going to get to go home today together," Myers said.

 

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