Death in Cocos from shark attack

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Steve_C

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Just to ask, do we know the animal in question received "unwanted behavioral reinforcement?" While we don't have an official breakdown of the injuries, the reports are pointing more towards severe lacerations, not bites being taken out. In that case, the shark didn't get fed, possibly got whacked a few times, and had its wounded prey item(s) yanked out of the water. I'd be curious to know if after that the shark would look at a diver and conclude "this food is problematic."

Simple enough. Get a wetsuit the same color as the victims and you swim around on the surface splashing every day for a couple months and see what happens.
 

diverdoug1

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I have noticed anytime a fatality occurs during a recreational pursuit, there are usually a few participants in that activity that are intent on saying "something" MUST have been done wrong or improperly, so that they may erroneously go on believing that they are at no risk of death themselves (because they ALLWAYS do it right). I see this with diving, aviation, back country skiing, and mountaineering to name a few. It is very tempting to tell yourself that you are safe because those other guys that got hurt or killed must have been doing something WRONG! Analysis of accidents certainly can be useful to learn of ways to make an activity safer, but even if everything is done optimally, you still may very well be at some degree of risk. I have heard nothing about this incident that describes abnormal Tiger Shark behavior. Why is there a suspicion that the predator received unwarranted behavioral reinforcement? Tiger Sharks bite prey and non-prey items all the time (unfortunately I know this all too well). It is part of their normal behavior.
 
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Thalassamania

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Oh, and in a July, 2009 thread, Farallon shark dart, he gave some additional info. on the incident that provfides insight:



If a large shark is attacking you, what is the feasibility likely to be to spear it in the body behind the 'fin' (pectoral, I'm guessing?)?

Richard.
Hi RIch! Still about on rare occasions, thanks for the kind words.

What may not have been clear was that the dart was on about a two foot pole ... and remember that I had a similar length billie in my left hand. I can't speak to efficacy on a big Tiger or Great White, but for your average Bull Shark that was adequate.
 

Kay Dee

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... but it's the students who are the real horror ...

How correct you are!

No matter how much PADI and other agencies want you to believe, NOT everyone should be scuba diving, nor can everyone learn / adapt to the underwater environment. And yes, that includes most people grandma's also I am sorry to say.
 

FairyBasset

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Just got back today from an excellent 10 day trip to Cocos. I use scubaboard to inform myself about my dive trips and I specifically looked here for infos on this topic before my trip, so I just wanted to give some short info back to the forum about the situation at cocos this week, for those people who are already booked to go or who are thinking about diving at cocos. My aim is simply to give some reassurance to those people.

Manuelita is now open again - we were the first group of customers allowed to dive it. We dived it once or twice almost every day. Night diving is still not permitted at the island.

National Geographic sent a team of researchers after the incident to record activity. The rangers have been closely following activity at the site and reopened it for diving.

The crew on our liveaboard (and I’m sure all the other boats do too) gave very clear instructions on ascending in groups, staying together on the dives and how to react around large animals coming in very close.

We had a diver on board with very little experience compared to the rest of the group. Our liveaboard allowed him to come on the condition he had (at his expense) a personal dive guide. This guide knew the sites and the animal activity, which is essential there. This solution benefitted the diver and the rest of the group.

The crew from our boat assisted in the emergency and sad passing. They knew exactly which tiger shark was involved as she was huge and also pregnant. We saw her during the week both at depth and at close range at the safety stops. On our second to last day we saw this same shark twice with what we assumed were her two new babies, though we are not experts and they could well have just been smaller sharks. We did not experience any aggressive behaviour from her or any of the other Tiger sharks or the Galapagos sharks during our trip.

My thoughts go out to the family and friends of the diver who lost her life.
 
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CuzzA

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Hi RIch! Still about on rare occasions, thanks for the kind words.

What may not have been clear was that the dart was on about a two foot pole ... and remember that I had a similar length billie in my left hand. I can't speak to efficacy on a big Tiger or Great White, but for your average Bull Shark that was adequate.
Glad to see you're back on here. I've read quite a few of your posts from the SB archives. :thumb:
 

CuzzA

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Just got back today from an excellent 10 day trip to Cocos. I use scubaboard to inform myself about my dive trips and I specifically looked here for infos on this topic before my trip, so I just wanted to give some short info back to the forum about the situation at cocos this week, for those people who are already booked to go or who are thinking about diving at cocos. My aim is simply give some reassurance to those people.

Manuelita is now open again - we were the first group of customers allowed to dive it. We dived it once or twice almost every day. Night diving is still not permitted at the island.

National Geographic sent a team of researchers after the incident to record activity. The rangers have been closely following activity at the site and reopened it for diving.

The crew on our liveaboard (and I’m sure all the other boats do too) gave very clear instructions on ascending in groups, staying together on the dives and how to react around large animals coming in very close.

We had a diver on board with very little experience compared to the rest of the group. Our liveaboard allowed him to come on the condition he had (at his expense) a personal dive guide. This guide knew the sites and the animal activity, which is essential there. This solution benefitted the diver and the rest of the group.

The crew from our boat assisted in the emergency and sad passing. They knew exactly which tiger shark was involved as she was huge and also pregnant. We saw her during the week both at depth and at close range at the safety stops. On our second to last day we saw her twice with her two new babies. We did not experience any aggressive behaviour from her or any of the other Tigers /Galapagos during our trip.

My thoughts go out to the family and friends of the diver who lost her life.
Nice report.
 

HalcyonDaze

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Just got back today from an excellent 10 day trip to Cocos. I use scubaboard to inform myself about my dive trips and I specifically looked here for infos on this topic before my trip, so I just wanted to give some short info back to the forum about the situation at cocos this week, for those people who are already booked to go or who are thinking about diving at cocos. My aim is simply give some reassurance to those people.

Manuelita is now open again - we were the first group of customers allowed to dive it. We dived it once or twice almost every day. Night diving is still not permitted at the island.

National Geographic sent a team of researchers after the incident to record activity. The rangers have been closely following activity at the site and reopened it for diving.

The crew on our liveaboard (and I’m sure all the other boats do too) gave very clear instructions on ascending in groups, staying together on the dives and how to react around large animals coming in very close.

We had a diver on board with very little experience compared to the rest of the group. Our liveaboard allowed him to come on the condition he had (at his expense) a personal dive guide. This guide knew the sites and the animal activity, which is essential there. This solution benefitted the diver and the rest of the group.

The crew from our boat assisted in the emergency and sad passing. They knew exactly which tiger shark was involved as she was huge and also pregnant. We saw her during the week both at depth and at close range at the safety stops. On our second to last day we saw her twice with her two new babies. We did not experience any aggressive behaviour from her or any of the other Tigers /Galapagos during our trip.

My thoughts go out to the family and friends of the diver who lost her life.

Interesting that they're banning night dives - just a precaution, or was the fatality on a night dive? Was there any indication that the instructions regarding ascending as a group were influenced by the circumstances of the attack?

I'm a little skeptical about the tiger - we get the "she's pregnant!" gushing with our regular tigers and lemons every year, and from talking to a few researchers I'm told the only way to tell whether that's a litter of pups in her belly or a lot of food is to do an ultrasound or blood test. It's made more difficult since tigers tend to balloon out anyway after they get to 12 ft or so.

Really curious about the assertion that she was seen with her "new babies." Tiger sharks pop out at around 60 cm and they're one of the few sharks that actually looks like a baby rather than a miniature adult:

https://i0.wp.com/www.southernfriedscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/BabyTiger.jpg

If they were tagging along with the mother, that would be unheard of - sharks provide zero parental care; it's launch and leave. That's for good reason; bigger sharks will pick them off and that may include the mother. One of the reasons tigers have large litter sizes (10 at the low end with 83 being the record) is that most of them get eaten early on; we'll occasionally see a juvenile in deep water but it's presumed the pups stay in shallow areas where larger sharks can't get at them.
 

Johnoly

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Just got back today from an excellent 10 day trip to Cocos....
Which did you like better, the Galapagos diving or the Coco's diving. Let us know if you put up a Coco's trip report, and glad you had a great time !!

I'm a little skeptical...
I've dove with FairyBasset in Galapagos and I'll vouch for her. She's a veteran long time diver.
 
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