Monday, February 25, 2008

Attack on Tiger Beach - Diver Dead

Editors Note 9.27.2008: Many emails have come in regarding this post and a few others that incorrectly suggest facts and site locations for the unfortunate shark attack on Mr.Groh this spring.

In defense of these posts we offer the following. This blog is a real time blog. As events happen, and stories unfold we post information as it happens. You will note the early posts regarding this event were dated almost to the hour of the day of the event.

These posts came from Coast Guard reports, first hand reports from vessels in the area listening in to radio traffic and no amount of general confusion from all media sources.

What is not in contention is the fact this attack (as we covered later) did not happen at Tiger Beach and did not involve a Tiger shark. What is also not in contention is the fact that Jimmy Abernathy himself did nothing to clarify the details of the attack, during the event, or after the event.

At no time did he or any representative of his operation come forth to the media or to other operations in the region to explain the attack, how it happened, where it happened, and what animal was involved. This lead to wild speculation by the media, and a general polarization of the shark diving industry in the region.

We maintain that industry leadership would dictate that Jimmy Abernathy would at some time and in some manner explain this event and to take responsibility away from the shark which quite naturally became the villain in this entirely sad affair. Today and after some 1500 media stories and blog posts later all we have are some grainy images and whispers of a story mainly from supporters of Jimmy Abernathy.

Our blog posts will remain as look at the unfolding of a commercial shark diving shark attack, how the media responded to it, how members of our shark diving community responded to it and the unfortunate aftermath.

Additionally a small group of Wetpixel friends have decided to make an issue of this blog and anyone who would speak out about this diver death. Sadly they have failed to realize how this tragic event has impacted the global shark diving industry and instead are clearly focused on reputation saving and smearing campaign.

Original Post:

A diver with Jimmy Abernathy's Dive Adventures in South Florida was bitten on Sunday by an alleged Bull Shark and then flown via Coast Guard helicopter to Florida.

Last year the Bahamas Dive Association sent a cease and desist to all shark diving operations on this site warning them to have shark cages on this dive site. It is unknown if Jimmy Abernathy had shark cages at this site at the time.

Diver Dead After Shark Attack

FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) ― A diver bitten by a shark on Sunday has died from his injuries.

The Coast Guard said they dispatched a HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Miami after receiving a mayday call from a crewmember aboard the Sheerwater, a commercial diving boat out of Riviera Beach, around 10 a.m.

The chopper located the dive boat about 50 miles east of Ft. Lauderdale and hoisted a 50-year old man onboard. It then airlifted him to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

The boat's crew said the man was diving early in the morning when he was bitten by a shark. They were unable to tell what type of shark was involved; they said it swam off before they could make an identification.

Jimmy's last blog post from his website describing a Tiger Expedition last week reads:

"We also witnessed and photographed Don Kehoe loosing his Aquatica housing with two strobes and a Canon 5D to “Angel” (Tiger Grabbing his camera from his hands). Although we looked for the camera for two hours we had no luck. We have now renamed the special section of Tiger Beach “Kehoe’s Canon Reef”. The camera is insured by DAN which is a very reputable equipment insurance company and hopefully they will take care of this for him. He was very upset to say the least, but also very happy that the shark didn’t get his hand. If you haven’t already insured your camera before the trip, please do so now. You never know what may happen."