38-year-old surfer Amy Tatsch is lucky to be alive after being attacked by a shark in the waters off Orlando in mid May. Tatsch had been out boogie boarding with her brother when the shark (believed to be about 7-foot long by bull by its tooth marks) “came out of nowhere and tore through her Achilles tendon and calf, narrowly missing taking her leg off completely.” She has since gone through multiple surgeries. And while she “can’t quite get up yet,” she is glad to be home.
“We caught a couple of waves. He caught one and I drifted down a little farther with the current so I was a little farther away and the next wave that was coming up, I was ready,” she related. “I kicked off with my right leg to give me some momentum to ride in and that’s when I got bumped. It was a really hard bump and then seconds after I felt my leg being torn and then I felt the motion of something big swimming away.”
Shark bites are always big new during the summer, with an average of 16 attacks reported here in the US and about 75 worldwide each year. Still, although the United States has the highest reported number of shark attacks (with the most recorded shark attacks in New Smyrna Beach, Florida,) it has the lowest fatality rate (approximately 4%). Other prime areas where the most attacks generally occur are in other part of Florida, as well as Hawaii, California, North and South Carolina, and Texas, although they have happened in just about every coastal state.
Western Australia, however, now holds the record for being the “deadliest place in the world for shark attacks,” and local authorities there have been promoting shark culls, despite wildlife advocate protests. In the meantime, scientists here and abroad are now working on a plan to cut that number down even more by placing tracking devices on sharks such as great whites, tigers and bull sharks so that they can warn beachgoers, as well as lifeguards, when danger is approaching.
Note: Despite horror stories, both fact and fiction, officials state that the chance of someone being attacked by a shark in the US is “1 in 11.5 million, while odds of being killed by one is less than 1 in 264.1 million. In fact, as weird as it may sound, it has been said that "people in New York are bitten 10 times more by other human beings than people are bitten by sharks worldwide.” Whether this is true or not is another matter.