How To Survive a Shark Attack

Friday, June 20, 2008

Each year around the world only 100 people are attacked by sharks (and 25 to 30 are killed), but humans kill 30 to 100 million sharks each year. However, it’s the humans who are attacked by sharks that make headlines. What should you do if you're attacked?

• Back up. If you see a shark approaching you, get your back against the ocean wall, a reef, a pile of rocks, a friend, or diving partner. This will minimize the number of angles the shark can attack you, according to the International Shark Attack File.
• Fight back. A diver in Australia was able to fight off a great white shark by hitting it with his spear gun, according to news reports of the incident. Don't play dead; show the shark that you can defend yourself.
• Aim for the eyes or gills. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook says the shark's eyes and gills are the areas most sensitive to pain. It suggests hitting the shark with anything in your possession, including a camera or your own fist, in these pain-sensitive areas.
• Find a tourniquet, if bit. Surfers are at greatest risk of attack because they spend the most amount of time in the water. They're told to carry a three-foot long surgical tube to use as a tourniquet in the event of an attack. The surfboard leash or any other length of material can also be tied above a bite to stop the bleeding, if necessary.
• Get out of the water. Even when fought off, sharks will often return, especially if they can smell blood. Get into a boat or to shore as quickly as possible.


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