Autopsy Shows Solana Beach Shark Victim ‘Wasn’t Seen As Food’

As reported by CBS 8 News.

The shark that killed a man in Solana Beach last month was not looking for food, according to an autopsy report.

Dr. David Martin was bitten several times, and now it appears the shark was not after him for food, but rather saw him as a threat to obtaining food.

“It was not a feeding attack. Generally in a feeding or predatory attack you will have tissue loss by the victim,” shark expert Ralph Collier said.

Collier attended Dr. Martin’s autopsy, which showed little tissue loss, despite the fact that he was bitten at least four times with no more than six distinct strikes to the thigh, the knee and the foot.

“This was a very aggressive, very forceful event,” Collier said.

Collier has been studying White Sharks for more than 40 years. his theory is that possibly the shark perceived Dr. Martin as a threat. Maybe it was eating in the area and feared the swimmers were there to take its food. He’s heard of that happening several times with boats.

“If the boat drifts in too close to the object, frequently the shark will leave the seal and ram the boat,” Collier said.

Collier says there’s evidence the shark had been in the area up to nine days before the attack. The proof – on his website – a sea lion that washed ashore in Carlsbad that was clearly bitten by a large shark. Another one surfaced just one day before the attack on Dr. Martin in Encinitas.

Unfortunately those two incidents didn’t get to Collier until after the attack, giving him no chance to get the word out to lifeguards.

Is the shark still in the area today? Collier has no confirmed sightings, so he’s glad to see people back in the ocean surfing, boogey boarding and swimming.

“The ocean is as safe a place as the Colorado River. Most accidents in the ocean have nothing to do with sharks,” Collier said.