In a tragic turn of events, Stephen Schafer was attacked by sharks while kiteboarding, and later died. The 38 year old was surfing 500 yards off shore in Stuart, Florida Wednesday when a crowd of sharks attacked. Evidence shows that he did try and fight back.
The outdoor enthusiast apparently had several injuries including bite wounds and teeth marks, and some bruises that appeared to be defensive as he fought back. Rescuers on the scene say the sharks were circling and Schafer was screaming. Read more and see the news story video about it below.
It is usual for people in the waters around Florida, such as surfers and the like, to only get minor bites and such. In fact the last death by sharks was a 14 year old girl was five years ago. This was also the first fatal attack in this particular area of Florida.
Nothing has been released as to what drew the sharks to attack, but some suspect it may have been young great white sharks, which are known to be aggressive. The lifeguard that spotted him through binoculars noticed the surfer was in a weird position before the attack.
“He was just hanging onto his board — not normal activity for a kite surfer,” Daniel Wouters of Martin County Fire Rescue told ABC News’ West Palm Beach affiliate WPBF. “Normally, the wind comes and they pick back up and they go off, but he had been hanging onto his board.”
This article also states that the team on site did all they could and Jim Smith told ABC News “I can’t emphasize enough that they did their best. The guy just wasn’t moving. It was very heartbreaking in a way.”
Regardless of whether or not this was uncommon or what he did, it was a sad event. Schafer was a veteran of the water and will be remembered.
WEST PALM BEACH-- Could a Great White Shark been behind the fatal attack of a kiteboarder Wednesday?
Even more rare, an attack by a Great White, the most feared beast of the ocean which can be 20 feet long and weigh up to 5000 pounds. That's more than a pick-up.
"Great whites in our area are very uncommon. They are mostly in deep waters where it's colder. There has never been an attack here by a white shark," said Goss.
Because of the severity of the wounds that killed the 38-year-old kite board surfer, some are speculating juvenile Great Whites which tend to be 6 to 8 feet long may have been in the area migrating through Florida's east coast during winter.
"That's the only situation where big sharks which hunt sea turtles could have mistaken it for a surfer. That's a white shark situation," added Goss.
The professor says the shark in this attack is most likely a bull shark, known for being aggressive.
Regardless what type of shark struck this time, experts say you are more likely to drown in the ocean from a rip current than die from a shark attack.