Encounters with Great White Sharks on the Rise

A 32-year-old American man who was living in Australia on a work visa was killed by a great white shark in the waters off Rottnest Island, 11 miles from the mainland and the city of Perth where a 64-year-old man was killed back on Oct. 10.

This was the third fatal attack in less than two months and four in just over a year. Authorities don't know if it is the same shark, in both of the most recent incidents the animal was described to be approximately 10 feet long.

A witness to the aftermath of the horrific event saw a "large amount of bubbles" just before the man surfaced with "obviously fatal injuries."

In my home state of Oregon, there have been two scary encounters with great whites, both with better endings for the fortunate surfers who were surprised and shocked by mammoth sharks. In the beach town of Seaside on the northern Oregon coast, Doug Niblack was riding a wave when suddenly a ten to twelve foot long shark knocked him off his feet.

The shark lifted Niblack out of the water for several seconds and took off. Several witnesses saw the event, and all of those in the cold Pacific waters paddled for shore as fast as they could, not knowing where the animal had gone. They were lucky.

On Thursday, about 100 miles down the coast near Newport, Ore., a Hawaiian born surfer, 41-year-old Bobby Gumm, had the fright of his life. While he was surfing off South Beach, he suddenly felt a shark right underneath him and sweep through his legs. Gumm thought it was a sea lion and kicked him a little to get the animal to back away.

That was when Gumm saw the large dorsal fin, and the great white proceeded to take a large chunk out of the board. The terrified surfer said the great white then "Swirls and lifts me off my board, then all of a sudden dips back down, grabs my board and just chucks me out of the water."

Shark expert, Mark Marks, said that based on the bite marks he believes the shark was a 15-16 foot great white, weighing possibly over 2,000 pounds.

The men in Oregon must have had guardian angels watching over them, but the victims in Australia unfortunately weren't so lucky. Shark attacks are said to be on the rise worldwide, with a 25 percent increase from 2009 to 2010, and 79 occurring last year alone.

Published by K.C. Dermody

K.C. Dermody is a freelance writer, writing for YCN, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Sports, and OMG! Yahoo as well as other web content projects, and working on a historical fiction novel based in ancient Ireland. She...  View profile