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Shark attack
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Security forces took a photo of a surf board that was attacked by a shark off the coast near Vandenberg. (Courtesy photo)
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Surf board gets bad end of shark attack

Posted 9/16/2008   Updated 9/16/2008 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Wesley Carter
30th Space Wing Public Affairs

9/16/2008 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- {Insert music from movie Jaws} 

Security forces members responded to a shark attack on Sept. 7 off Vandenberg's Surf Beach.

A shark, believed to be either a blue shark or a great white, attacked the board of a surfer as he was drifting in the water.

The surfer, who wishes to remain anonymous, was not physically harmed in the shark-to-human confrontation.

"He was a little shook up," said Senior Airman Lauren Daniels, a 30th Security Forces Squadron conservation law enforcement officer. "Luckily, however, the shark seemed more interested in his board than him."

Upon arrival the conservation office instructed people to stay out of the water for the next 24 hours.

"We know there are sharks out there, but there are things people can do to lower the chances of being involved in a shark attack," Airman Daniels said.

The number one thing a person should do when entering another animal's habitat, no matter what habitat, is be vigilant and aware of their surroundings.

"Pay attention to the wildlife around you," Airman Daniels said. "If you notice seals and dolphins moving quickly toward the shore, it might be a sign that a threat is near."

Although shark attacks get a lot of attention and are a phobia of many people, in California they are somewhat rare.

Since the 1950s, California's coasts have only seen 95 shark attacks, and only 11 have been fatal, according to the California Department of Fish and Game Web site.

Sharks usually feed on fish, smaller sharks or rays. It is important for beachgoers to use this information to protect themselves from looking like a sharks prey.

"It isn't very smart to wear a shiny bathing suit that might look like a fish in the water," Airman Daniels said.

The conservation office is confident that this is an isolated incident, and that there is not an immediate need to close the beach down any longer than the initial 24 hours, but asks beachgoers to be careful and follow all beach regulations.

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