Boy, 10, Dies After Shark Attack in Virginia Beach
VIRGINIA BEACH, Sept. 2 -- The father punched the shark´s mouth, poked its eye, finally wrestled his 10-year-old son´s leg from its jaws and dragged the boy to shore.
On the beach, rescuers wrapped the young surfer´s wound with towels and called for help.
But early today, 10 hours after the attack during a surfing outing with his father and two brothers, David Peltier became the first person in Virginia´s recorded history to be killed by a shark. He also became the first person in the United States this year to die of shark-inflicted injuries, following a flurry of highly publicized attacks this summer off the Florida coast.
Despite the tragedy in the Sandbridge area of Virginia Beach, tourists flocked to the area´s beaches today on the summer season´s final weekend. Sandbridge Beach remained open, and safety officials patrolled the shore, with no additional reports of sharks.
David was surfing 40 to 50 yards offshore in four feet of water when the attack occurred about 6 p.m. Saturday, according to Virginia Beach emergency officials. The shark, seven to nine feet long, swam toward the boy while he was standing in the water, officials said.
The father, Richard Peltier Jr., yelled at his two other sons to get back on their surfboards and frantically tried to pull David onto his own board as the shark clamped down on the boy´s left leg, said Ed Brazle, spokesman for Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services.
"The father punched the shark and tried to punch the shark´s mouth open," Brazle said. "He then poked the shark in the eye with his fingers . . . at which point the shark released the boy."
The father pulled his son to shore, where lifeguards, who rushed from their posts at a neighboring beach, and bystanders began first aid, Brazle said. An ambulance arrived in about six minutes, officials said.
The boy was taken to a local hospital before he was transferred late Saturday to Children´s Hospital of the King´s Daughters in Norfolk. He died about 3:45 this morning, having suffered significant blood loss from the attack, which severed a main artery in his thigh and left him with a 17-inch gash.
Full report by David S. Fallis and Christina A. Samuels, Washington Post, available here
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