Shark attacks man off Peninsula coast

When Dan Prather’s fishing buddies heard him call for help on his handheld radio during a weekend trip to the San Mateo County coast, they figured he needed someone to lend a hand with a big catch.

Indeed, it was a whopper of a fish — a great white shark that attacked Prather’s kayak, throwing him into the sea and sinking its teeth into the nose of the small boat.

Prather, who had been adjusting his lure before the 10:15 a.m. attack, thought he had been struck by another boat, said John Dale of Foster City, who was part of the group of kayak anglers who accompanied Prather to Bean Hollow State Beach near Pescadero.

“He didn’t think it was a shark until he saw it attached to the front of his boat, gnawing on it,” Dale said.

Prather scrambled back into his kayak, but the force of the attack had knocked his seat loose and he fell out two more times. The shark swam away, leaving Prather’s kayak with multiple scratches and punctures in its bottom.

While Prather’s friends said he’s not ready to talk publicly about the attack, they said the San Leandro resident never lost his cool — or his sense of humor — during the ordeal.

“He told me, ‘I caught a couple fish … and a shark,’” Dale recalled.

Angler Joel Lotilla of Millbrae said Prather was a study in restraint when he reached the shore, calmly opening a beer and lamenting that he wouldn’t be able to use his kayak the following weekend.

Carrie Wilson, a marine biologist for the state Department of Fish and Game, said the area is partof the Red Triangle, named for its dense population of sharks. The region extends roughly from Bodega Bay to beyond the Farallon Islands and south to Big Sur.

There are more sharks in the area because of the many seals, sea lions and elephant seals.

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.

Karl Tallman, public safety superintendent for state parks in the area, said officials don’t plan to close the beach because the attack happened a mile off shore.

tbarak@examiner.com


Have you ever seen a great white shark at sea?

Share your comments below.

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

People stand in line to check-in for pickup and drop-off services the San Francisco Public Library main branch on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Main Public Library to reopen May 3

San Francisco’s Main Public Library will reopen with limited indoor service on… Continue reading

Legislation by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman would require The City to add enough new safe camping sites, such as this one at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin, to accomodate everyone living on the street. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City would create sites for hundreds of tents under new homeless shelter proposal

Advocates say funding better spent on permanent housing

A construction worker rides on top of materials being transported out of the Twin Peaks Tunnel as work continues at West Portal Station on Thursday, August 16, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA’s poor track record on capital projects risks losing ‘public trust’

Supervisors say cost overruns and delays could jeapordize future ballot revenue measures

Roger Marenco, president of operators union TWU Local 250-A, speaks at a news conference outside the Muni Kirkland Yard announcing Muni will not be increasing fares on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA’s union leader encourages riders to say ‘thank you’ to their Muni operators

A conversation with Roger Marenco, president of Transport Workers Union of America, Local 250A

Most Read