A shark attack is being blamed for the mysterious disappearance of a 63-year-old Chiropractor from Longview, Texas. John E. Petty, who was on a night diving excursion along with eight other passengers. He was last seen aboard the 65-foot vessel, ‘Shear Water’, on which the group went for the excursion. According to GrindTV, Petty did not surface with the other team members following which a distress call was sent out and rescue operations commenced.
The incident happened at the renowned Tiger Beach in the Bahamas, located 20 miles northwest of West End on Grand Bahama Island on the evening of Sunday, July 13. The excursion was arranged by controversial Florida based outfitter Jim Abernethy who is well known in the commercial shark diving fraternity. After the end of a massive search operation covering 4,600 square miles, the Coast Guard has determined that it was highly probable that John E. Petty was indeed a victim of a shark attack. Giving credence to this theory is the fact that they have managed to recover a “substantial amount” of diving gear believed to be that of Petty. They have however not retrieved the body nor haven’t come across traces of human remains. Following the confirmation of a shark attack being the cause of Petty’s disappearance, the coast guard has also called off the search for John.
The shark attack reportedly happened in an area where divers are known to dive among tiger sharks who are lured towards them using bait. However, most such dives happen during daylight hours – thereby reducing the chances of a potential shark attack. Many operations in the region seem to have been lax on the safety part after it was reported that many of them had stopped using cages -which could prove to be a good defense against a potential shark attack.
Meanwhile, according to a report by Chron, a Coast Guard petty officer John Paul-Rios has said that the recovered diving gear believed to be that of John included a mask and a camera. It was found one mile from where they had received the initial distress call.
Tiger Beach, where this alleged shark attack happened is not new to attacks of this nature. Several instances of close calls with sharks have been reported from the area in the past as well. In 2008, another man had lost his life in a similar shark attack. That victim was a client of Jim Abernethy as well. Jim himself happens to be a shark attack victim since he was bitten on the arm by a lemon shark in the past.
Meanwhile, after the confirmation that a shark attack was indeed behind John’s disappearance, his son-in-law has issued a statement on Wednesday which reads thus;
“The family would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming support and prayers on behalf of John Petty. The U.S. Coast Guard has ceased its search as of 11:00 a.m., today. After the Bahamian Government studied the items recovered in numerous searches, it has been determined that a shark attack was the cause. A memorial service is being planned and details will be posted later today. Thank you all again.”
Do you think this shark attack was simply a result of unsafe practices being followed? Isn’t this unacceptable at a time when we have been noticing a rise in the number of shark attacks being reported across the U.S.? Our thoughts are with John Petty’s family in this hour of mourning.
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