Shark attacks are supposed to be scary things that only happen in movies. Tragically, however, they do still happen in real life.
A recent shark attack in California has now cost a 42-year-old man his life in what his relatives call a “terrible loss.”
The unexpected, savage attack occurred in Morro Bay, a popular surfing spot about two hours west of Bakersfield in California’s San Luis Obispo County. Authorities are still investigating, but here’s what we know so far…
Body Boarder Gets Mauled by Great White Shark in Morro Bay
Tom Butterfield was a 42-year-old man who went bodyboarding in Morro Bay in late December. The Sacramento man was enjoying time out on the water in the mid-morning on Christmas Eve when a great white shark attacked and killed him.
There were dozens of people on the beach, but Butterfield was about 100 yards out in the water. Authorities aren’t yet clear on whether anyone directly witnessed the attack.
What we do know is another woman on the beach found him later in the morning when she saw his board cable floating in the water. She pulled the line and found it connected to his body, which was floating lifeless in the water.
Shark attacks are still extremely uncommon; although great white sharks have been increasing in number off the California coast.
It is a good thing they don’t usually attack, since drone footage has shown they often like to swim near popular beaches and surfing spots.
Great white sharks grow more than 20 feet in length and weigh in at up to 3,000 pounds; so if one of these things is coming for you with its razor-sharp teeth, you are in huge trouble.
Press Release – Shark Attack pic.twitter.com/YA0WaPorjt
— Morro Bay Police (@MorroBayPD) December 24, 2021
Should You be Scared?
At this point, experts say shark attacks are still extremely rare. Nonetheless, if you’re swimming in areas where sharks have been sighted, it’s always a good idea to be a bit more cautious and careful.
A woman was killed in 2003 in San Luis Obispo County as well when her black wetsuit fooled a shark into thinking she was lunch (they love to eat sea lions).
“Accidents” where sharks get hit by a surfer or bodyboarder, for example, and then attack, are also definitely possible.
It’s still good to keep the numbers in mind though in order not to get too scared. California’s parks department says between 1950 and the present day, there have only been 200 times a shark touched a human and only 14 of those were deadly.
Still, that’s 14 too many!
Tomas Butterfield died in the place he loved the most: the sea. He was riding a body board in Morro Bay Christmas Eve morning when a great white shark killed him in what is believed to be the first fatal shark attack in San Luis Obispo Co. in 18 years.https://t.co/kRsePpHO8P pic.twitter.com/QJn2vjBhEF
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) January 2, 2022
Rest in Peace, Thomas
Rest in peace, Thomas.
Shark attacks are a very terrifying way to go; however, at least his family can take comfort in knowing he was enjoying himself right up until the end.