August 4, 2012

Shark-bitten man will revisit beach

The Associated Press

BOSTON – Bandaged but able to walk, Christopher Myers left a hospital Friday in good spirits, even cracking jokes about the shark attack that put him there.

click image to enlarge

In this Monday, July 30, 2012 photo, Christopher Myers is loaded on an ambulance at Ballston Beach in Truro, Mass., after sustaining shark-bite wounds to his legs while swimming. (AP Photo/Cape Cod Times, Eric Williams)

click image to enlarge

In this Monday, July 30, 2012 photo, Christopher Myers is carried off Ballston Beach in Truro, Mass., after sustaining shark-bite wounds to his legs while swimming. (AP Photo/Cape Cod Times, Eric Williams)

AP

The 50-year-old Myers was bitten Monday, apparently by a great white, when he and his teenage son were swimming toward a sandbar in the Atlantic Ocean about 400 yards off Ballston Beach. The shark put four puncture wounds on each of Myers' lower legs.

The injuries required surgery to repair torn tendons, and Myers wore a cast on one leg and bandages on the other as he spoke about the attack to reporters outside Massachusetts General Hospital.

"I figured the options were a shark, a polar bear, an elephant. By process of elimination, I got down to a shark very quickly," Myers said.

He said the bite felt like his leg was caught in a vise. He kicked what he thinks was the shark's snout, and "the shark decided I wasn't tasty or something because he let me go."

The animal's large dorsal fin and about 8 feet of its back appeared in the water between Myers and his son J.J., before the two swam for shore.

J.J. joined his father at the news conference and said "seeing a shark is just enough to get you swimming as fast as you possibly can to the beach."

Shark expert Greg Skomal, of the state Division of Marine Fisheries, spoke with Myers and examined his injuries and earlier said the shark was likely a great white, the type portrayed in the "Jaws" movies. He said the number of great white sightings off the Massachusetts coast has increased in the last few years, likely because of a growing number of seals, which sharks eat.

A possible great white was seen about 20 miles south from Ballston Beach, trailing a kayaker off Nauset Beach in early July.

Myers rolled to the hospital patio news conference in a wheelchair. The Boston native stood up and walked the few steps to a table and chairs without help.

Myers said he would return to Ballston Beach despite the attack.

"It's my favorite beach in the world," he said. "I will go back."

But he said he would not have swum as far from shore if he had known about shark sightings off Cape Cod or if warning signs had been posted at the beach.

 

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