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Rare shark attack fatality in Australia raises concerns on Oahu

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A shark killed a Japanese surfer off the Australian coast on Feb. 9, reports the New York Daily News. The 41-year old surfer was waiting for a wave when a shark bit at the back of the man’s board, taking his legs with it, the story says. The man’s friends who had been surfing with him that day, pulled him back into shore attempting to save his life by performing CPR and attending to the excessive bleeding. “…Because both legs were gone, he bled to death very quickly,” said David Wright, mayor of the town where the shark attack occurred. Shark attacks hit close to home for people living on Oahu since surfing is a popular pass time and hobby for BYU-Hawaii students as well. Cassie Davis, a business major from Utah, said, “I know the risks when I go out into the water, but you have to decide whether it’s worth it.” So far this year there has been one shark attack in Hawaii on Jan. 27 off the coast of Maui where the person attacked ended up with cuts on his lower left leg, reports the website In 2014, there were six reported shark attacks in Hawaii, the website says, but most are not fatal attacks like the one in Australia. “What is the likelihood of being attacked by a shark in the waters of Hawaii?” says “Answer: Very unlikely. In 2012, 7.99 million visitors came to the islands and there were just ten shark attacks in Hawaii (the highest since 2002). In 2008 there were only two attacks and just three attacks each year in 2009, 2010 and 2011.”Being aware of the possibility of having a confrontation with a shark while in the water is the first step to surfing-safety. “If you aren’t willing to take the risk of running into a shark, don’t surf. The chances are small but there’s always a chance,” said Brindlee Fullmer, a business major from Arizona. “Shark attacks? They happen sometimes,” said Rachel Cooper, a psychology major from Utah. “The scar would look pretty cool though.” If you’re going out surfing, follow these tips from National Geographic on “How to Avoid an Attack:”• Stay away from the mouths of rivers after heavy rains, when freshwater fishes and other animals are swept out to sea.• Swim clear of fishing boats. They often trail fish remains and blood, which can draw sharks.• If you're bleeding, including menstruating, stay on the beach. Sharks can smell and taste even the smallest amount of blood from over a mile (1.6 kilometers) away and trace it back to its source.• If you cut or injure yourself in the water, get out! Do not stay in the water with blood around you.• Stay out of the water if fish blood or bait fish are present. In other words, steer clear of fishers.• Avoid large groups of fish, seals, or sea lions. They all are prominent on the shark's menu.• Stay away if you see large groups of dolphins and seabirds. They are attracted to the same food sharks eat. And don't make the mistake of thinking that if dolphins are present, there won't be any sharks around. Dolphins can be prey for large sharks.• Stay away from dead animals in the water
Writer: Ali Apgood