A hammerhead shark attacked a kayaker yesterday as he dangled his feet in the waters near Malibu, California. The 29-year-old victim, Dillon Marks, and his friend, Kyle Hudgins, were about a mile offshore when the shark attack occurred. Marks’ friend said they encountered a group of large sharks. “They were bigger than the kayak,” he said. It is estimated that the shark that bit Marks was about 10-feet-long.
The shark bit the top of Marks’ foot, but he was able to free himself and pull his feet back onto the kayak. The two were able to flag down a small fishing boat which took the wounded man to shore. He was then airlifted to a nearby hospital in Thousand Oaks where he underwent surgery. Doctors were able to save his foot, and Marks remains in the hospital today in stable condition.
This is the latest in a string of shark attacks off of the California coastline. On August 29, a Great White shark approached a surfer and bit off a chunk of her surfboard as she was in the waters off of Morro Strand State Beach. Elinor Dempsey, 54, said the shark bite on her surfboard was bigger than her head. She was lying prone on the surfboard when the shark attacked.
On the same day, waters off La Jolla Shores Beach near San Diego were closed to swimmers after a group of kayakers filmed an aggressive hammerhead shark circling them. They captured the shark on video, and experts estimated that the shark was about 10-feet-long.
The highest number of shark attacks along the North American Pacific coast occur in the months of August, September, and October. About 87 percent of the shark attacks are by Great Whites, according to the Shark Research Committee.
Although shark attacks have increased in this area over the past decade, fatalities are actually rare. In the past 115 years, there have only been 12 known deaths from shark attacks off of the California coast line.
South of the border, a higher number of deaths is reported from shark attacks, which may be due to unsupervised beaches and greater distances to medical facilities. Also, the waters off of Mexico and Central America are known for the largest Great White sharks on record.
[Intro photo is a file photo of a hammerhead shark]