The latest shark attack off New Caledonia’s shores has claimed championship triathlete and “beloved father” Chris Davis at 59-years-old.
Davis, an Australia native, was visiting a tourist beach in Noumea with his family. While swimming 150 metres out into the ocean, tragedy struck in the form of an immense natural predator, the tiger shark.
“The bite on the major thigh, extending 37 centimetres from the hip to the knee, caused a deep lesion with the section of the femoral artery,” Public prosecutor Yves Dupas says via 9 News. With four major bite wounds on his thigh, hands and right arm, Davis had suffered at least two lethal bites from the animal.
Dupas cites the second bite as “also fatal, according to the medical examiner. Given the extent of the lesions, concerns the upper limbs, the forearm and the hands”.
As a crowded beach watched in horror, bystanders rushed to the father’s aid. He was rushed to shore where resuscitating efforts began. Davis died at the scene before ambulances could arrive.
“Chris was a senior software programming consultant in the superannuation and funds management industry and a keen triathlete, having represented Australia several times in age group world championship events,” the Davis family says in a statement. His wife and three adult sons continue to express their gratitude to the good Samaritans who attempted to save Chris’ life.
“We thank the media and the public during this difficult time for respecting the privacy of the family,” they add. His body now rests in Australia.
In the wake of Davis’ death, Chateau Royal Beach and other nearby beaches will remain off-limits to the public “indefinitely.”
Shark Attack Spurs Local Cull
Despite this tragic death, public outcry has switched to current shark culling efforts in Noumea area. On Wednesday, a 13-foot tiger shark was pulled from the waters where the attack occured on Sunday, Feb. 19. The photo above shows the animal authorities believe to be responsible. And despite hooking this particular shark, culling activity continues in the area.
Blue Planet Society is among the conservation and marine biology organizations calling for the cull to end.
“The loss of life is heartbreaking. However, a shark cull in the area where a tourist was killed is NOT the answer. Sharks will continue to return to beaches and are in their natural environment,” tweets Ocean & Marine animal activist Katiana Johnson.
Local officials see the cull as a necessity, however. The tourist spot had only reopened one week ago after a similar, though non-fatal, shark attack.
49-year-old local Bridgette Do is still recovering in Sydney’s Westmead Hospital after suffering severe bite wounds and the loss of a hand, four fingers, and part of her leg.
“She is very lucky she had those people assist her on the beach,” her father, Owen, offers of her survival.