Top ten most infamous shark attacks
After a shark killed one tourist and injured several more in a spate of five attacks at Sharm el Sheikh, the Red Sea resort, here is a list of ten of the most infamous shark attacks in history.
#1 Jersey shore, 1916 (The mighty Bull Shark)
Arguably the most famous shark attacks in history resulted in four dead and one injured, probably at the hands of a great white or bull shark, over a ten-day period. Why the notoriety? The spate of attacks is thought to have inspired the film Jaws.
#2 Matawan Creek, New Jersey, 1916
Just a week after the Jersey shore attacks a 12-year-old boy was killed by a great white in Matawan Creek, prompting a shark hunt by local men. It claimed another victim and wounded a third before being caught, and when cut open the shark was found to contain 15lb (7kg) of human flesh and bone.
#3 U.S.S. Indianapolis, 1945
Oceanic whitetip sharks are held to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of sailors stranded at sea after the U.S.S. Indianapolis was torpedoed. Between 600 and 800 sailors lost their lives but it is not known how many died from exposure and how many from shark attacks.
#4 Brook Watson, 1749
The first known survivor of a shark attack was 14-year-old Brook Watson, a crew member of a trading ship who was twice attacked while swimming in the harbour of Havana, Cuba. His shipmates saved his life, but the shark took his foot and he later had his leg amputated.
Watson went on to become an MP, the Lord Mayor of London, and to be featured in one of the most enduring images of a shark attack, Watson and the Shark by John Singleton Copley, who witnessed the event.
#5 Rodney Fox, 1953
Fox, an Australian spearfishing champion, was defending his title when he was attacked by a great white which took him around his waist in its jaws. After an epic struggle he was released. He is the best-known survivor of a shark attack simply because of the extent of his injuries, which required four hours of surgery and 360 stitches, and his miraculous survival.
#6 Bethany Hamilton, 2003
One of America’s highest-ranked surfers, 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton, lost her arm in an attack by a tiger shark in Hawaii in 2003. She was undeterred by her injury and defied the effect it had on her balance to win a national surfing title in 2005.
#7 Barry Wilson, 1952
Another case that surely influenced the makers of Jaws, 17-year-old Barry Wilson was killed as he swam with a friend off the shore of Pacific Grove, California, in front of scores of witnesses. One saw him jerk suddenly before being pulled from side to side. The shark then lifted him completely out of the water before dragging him under.
#8 Lloyd Skinner, 2010
A shark described as “dinosaur huge” and “longer than a minibus” killed tourist Lloyd Skinner as he swam neck-deep just yards from the shore of a beach in Cape Town, South Africa. The shark, thought to be a great white, twice pulled him under water, leaving behind no trace of the victim except a pool of blood and his swimming goggles.
#9 Henri Bource, 1964
In one of the first attacks captured on film, Henri Bource was swimming with two other divers off the coast of Australia when a great white pounced and bit off his leg. His colleagues saved his life by dragging him to safety and giving first aid. Bource later claimed he tried to free himself by gouging the shark’s eyes and ramming his arm down its throat.
#10 Sharm el Sheikh, 2010 (To be continued....)
A spate of attacks at the Red Sea resort was thought to have ended when two sharks were captured, and the beaches were reopened. The following day a 70-year-old German woman was killed as she snorkelled close to the shore. The attacks were thought to have been prompted by the dumping of a dead sheep from a ship.
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