A 35-year-old British citizen living in Australia was killed in a brutal shark attack last year in what researchers are calling a “provoked incident”.
Simon Nellist, dive instructor and ex UK A Royal Air Force soldier, died after being attacked in February 2022 by what witnesses described as a 15-foot great white shark at Buchan Point, near Little Bay, southeast of Sydney.
The incident, the first fatal shark attack in Sydney in decades, shocked the world. Extremely graphic video of the attack emerged on line. The video shows him floundering in the water and a pool of blood about 50 meters off shore.
A witness, Kris Linto, said the swimmer was in the water when the shark “came in and attacked him vertically”.
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The International Shark Attack File (ISAF), a global database of all known shark attacks maintained by the Florida Museum, classified Nellist’s death as a “provoked incident”. The database classifies “caused incidents” as “a human somehow initiates interaction with a shark.”
Gavin Naylor, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, told the London Times that Nellist “in no way intended to provoke” the shark that was swimming in an area where people were fishing.
“We find that a large proportion of the bites we get reported occur where people are fishing and there is a friend or bait in the water. Fishing brings baitfish closer to shore than they might otherwise be, and sharks often follow them,” he said. .
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He explained that these circumstances may have “excited” the shark or induced “atypical behaviour”.
As a result, ISAF classified the incident as “provoked,” Naylor said.
In 2022, ISAF investigated 108 alleged attacks worldwide in 2022. It confirmed 57 unprovoked shark bite attacks on humans and 32 provoked bites.
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The organization shared that there were nine shark-related deaths worldwide in 2022, with the United States leading in unprovoked shark attacks.