Others in the Vicinity
Fate of Rescuers Assisting Divers During Shark Attack
Of 42 cases (N=42).
Other People Injured by Shark During Attack on Divers
As you can see, in the majority of cases where other people were in the vicinity of a shark attack, the shark did not injure other people. When sharks attack, they focus on one prey item at a time. While humans are not a shark's natural prey item, sharks may mistake a human for prey, thereby treating the human as it would any other prey for a first strike. Sometimes when the shark realizes it has bitten something that is not a part of its normal diet the shark will leave the object of its initial strike alone and go to another area. (See Passes, Bumps, Bites, and Strikes for further information.) Of 122 cases (N=122).
Non-human Presence in Vicinity of Shark Attacks on Divers
The graph below lists what else is in water around an attack. The majority of attacks occur when nothing but a boat is around a diver. The high number of boats in an area of attack is most likely the cause of divers originally diving off boats, not necessarily because the shark is more likely to attack a person while a boat is around.
Of 144 cases (N-144), cases may be represented in more than one category.
Possible Attractants in Vicinity of Shark Attacks on Divers
The graph below lists what other attractants are in the water around an attack. As in the previous graph, the majority of attacks occur when nothing else is around a diver. Wounded fish juice found in waters around fishing boats have been known to attract sharks. Sharks have a keen sense of smell and may mistake a diver for their own prey. Of 205 cases (N-205), cases may be represented in more than one category.
Diversionary Action Taken by Those Assisting Divers Involved with Shark Attacks
Many people will try to divert the shark from attacking them. The most effective actions, as listed in the data below, seem to be poking and acting aggressively towards the shark. Probing the eyes or gills is recommended if a shark is attacking someone around you because these are the most sensitive and vulnerable parts of the shark. The single kicking incident was successful.
© International Shark Attack File
Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida