Shark attack spurs warnings

Rangers at Bean Hollow State Beach near Pescadero are warning beachgoers to be cautious in the water following Saturday’s shark attack.

State Park Ranger David Augustine said authorities have been informally telling people of the attack on fisherman Dan Prather, of San Leandro, while he was fishing in his kayak.

“When we see people going out on a boat, we give them verbal warnings,” Augustine said. He stressed, however, that shark attacks are extremely rare and Saturday’s incident occurred a mile offshore.

Witnesses said Prather escaped injury when a great white shark grabbed his kayak. Prather was tossed into the water but managed to scramble back into his kayak, which sustained multiple bites and scratches.

Marine Biologist Carrie Wilson of the California Department of Fish and Game said the shark might have mistaken Prather’s kayak for a seal or sea lion.

According to statistics from the Department of Fish and Game, only 10 people have died in great white shark attacks in California since the 1920s.

“People don’t know they’re in the water because they’re not targeting humans. They’re not interested in humans as a prey item. We’re kind of skinny and wouldn’t make a very good meal,” Wilson said.

Wilson blamed the1975 movie “Jaws” for inciting hysteria about shark attacks.

tbarak@examiner.com

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