Saturday, June 07, 2008

Shark attacks kill one, injured another within 48 hours

One surfer was killed and another narrowly escaped with his life after two shark attacks off the Pacific coast of Mexico this weekend, officials said Sunday.A Mexican student was killed Friday in the Zihuatanejo area, north of Acapulco, and a day later a US surfer was also attacked. He managed to escape with only five cuts on his right forearm.

"I felt something brush past me three times, scraping my skin like sandpaper. Then I saw a three-meter (10-foot) shark attacking my right arm," Bruce Grimes, 49, from Florida, told reporters after leaving hospital Saturday.Saturday's attack took place off Playa Linda beach near Zihuatanejo, a sun spot popular with North American tourists. It was the third in the last month.A 21-year-old Mexican student, Aldo Mata, died surfing off the Pantla beach Friday after a shark bit off his hand and then his right leg, rupturing an artery and causing him to bleed to death.

"I saw Aldo starting to surf when a shark about two-and-a-half meters long attacked him. Afterwards, he tried to get out of the water but couldn't," said Jorge Duque, a friend of the victim.At the end of April, a 24-year-old US surfer died on his way to hospital after a shark attack in the same area.Local officials have advised tourists not to surf there and fishermen, who have also reported shark sightings, to stay away.

Officials blame the new influx of sharks in the area on climate change."We brought shark specialists to the area and the first thing they said was that (the animals' presence) could be because of cold water currents caused by climate change," said Guerrero state's environment minister, Sabas de la Rosa.


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