"Anatomy of a Shark Bite"
(10 April 2002, Bahamas) It might sound dumb to throw bloody chum into the
waters of Walker's Cay, where dangerous bull sharks congregate, and wade
among the sharks in a Speedo while they're in the midst of a feeding
frenzy. But to a reputed expert in the body language of sharks. Not to
"Unbiteable Erich" of Switzerland!
The scientist believed that sharks could sense fear, and that his mastery
of his heartbeat through yoga techniques made sharks regard him as a fellow
predator, not fearful prey. Other shark experts advocate dressing in black
wetsuit, hood, and gloves, to cover skin that resembles pale-colored prey
in murky waters, but not Erich. He had "waded with sharks" for years. And
this Wednesday, a video crew was prepared to tape throwing fish into the
water to attract bull sharks, then wading into the sea with bare legs to
observe their body language.
The sharks are often accompanied by remora, quasi-parasite fish that clean
the sharks and sometimes attach to them with a suction cup for long rides.
Just after one remora swam between Erich's legs a shark followed,
and--unaware that Erich's yoga techniques had turned him into a fellow
predator--snapped off a huge chunk of his left calf. He was pulled from
the water in shock and flown by air ambulance to West Palm Beach, Florida,
where doctors tried to save the remains of his leg and his life.
He spent six weeks in the hospital trying to figure out what went wrong.
He concluded that nothing went wrong; the shark simply mistook his leg
for the remora in the murky water.
The documentary, originally intended to prove Erich's theory that bull
sharks will not attack unless provoked, was re-titled "Anatomy of a Shark
Bite." A former colleague told a diving magazine: "It was an accident
waiting to happen. He's more like a philosopher than a scientist. There's
no evidence to support his theories." Erich is no longer called
[sidebar] Hundreds of shark species have been identified, but just three
species are responsible for most attacks on humans: the great white
(Carcharodon carcharias), tiger (Galeocerdo cuvier), and bull shark
(Carcharhinus leucas). Divers often encounter bull sharks. Their
preference for shallow coastal waters makes them potentially the most
dangerous sharks of all. More information:
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Submitted by: Luis Cruz
Reference: Western Daily Press, The Telegraph, Cyber Divers Network News