Top 10 DEADLIEST Shark Attacks
Ever since Peter Benchley’s Jaws, sharks have been given a bad rap, though it’s widely known that they don’t seek out people to attack. This installment may speak to the contrary as we look at the ten worst recorded shark attacks. These aren’t just small nibbles from a curious creature. Viewer be warned, graphic content may make this video unsuitable for some. Since there are between 5 and 15 shark attack deaths per year, we could easily fill this video with nothing but fatalities. However, we're just going to highlight the more popular shark attacks heard from around the world.
For many, it was likely that iconic scene in Jaws that made us aware of the USS Indianapolis disaster. On July 30th, 1945, two torpedoes fired from a Japanese submarine struck the large vessel, forcing all 1,197 crewmen to evacuate. As dead bodies from the wreckage started to spill into the ocean by sunrise, sharks started to swarm. The surviving crewmembers went stranded for four long days, stuck in a growing pool of blood and sharks. Survivors of the wreckage reported about two-dozen sharks and spoke of being nudged from the depths, leaving them to wonder if, and when, they’d be the next meal. Of the 1,197, only 317 lived; a combination of the initial explosion, dehydration, and being eaten alive claiming the lives of 880 men.
Shirley Ann Durdin
In what seems to be a safe 7-foot or 2 meters of water, Shirley Ann Durdin was met with an estimated 20-foot or 6-meter long great white shark. Durdin had been diving for scallops in the waters of Port Lincoln, South Australia as her husband, three daughters, and son surveyed from the shore. It only took one moment for the picturesque family to be torn apart when the large shark swam up and allegedly bit Durdin in half. The attack was quick, but the predator returned to claim the remainder of its kill, leaving nothing left of the diver. While searches were conducted to find some semblance of her remains, nothing was found except for a single swim fin thought to belong to her.
Today, Rodney Fox is one of the world’s leading authorities on the feared great white shark, but his fascination didn’t come form daytime television specials or a childhood fear. Fox came face-to-face with the deep-sea predator in December of 1963, while spear fishing some 50 kilometers or 31 miles south of Adelaide. While trying to protect his title as the South Australian Spear Fishing Champion, a great white went on the attack and nearly tore Fox to shreds. After escaping his attacker, Fox was in dire condition, with his abdomen and spleen fully exposed. Fox also suffered broken ribs, torn tendons in his right hand, and a punctured diaphragm. It was, and still is, noted as the single worst shark attack that anyone had survived.
It all started with a passing whoosh. Cliff Zimmerman was swimming with his friend and diving partner, Randy Fry off the Mendocino Coast, when the speedy predator struck. It passed by Zimmerman and went straight for Fry, allegedly assuming the diver was a sea lion. Despite Zimmerman’s attempts to warn his friend, the shark, believed to be a 16-foot or 5-meter great white, was able to grab a hold of Fry. The size of the shark allowed it to pull the diver under, ensuring he would not be saved. Fry’s remains were not immediately recovered as the shark pulled him to its depths, but eventually his decapitated body was discovered days later. Nineteen days after the attack, a beachcomber found Fry’s head.
It’s tragic to watch a loved one slip away right in front of you, but even more-so when that loved one is taken in a violent matter. For newlywed Gemma Houghton, the loss of her husband was a tragic one that nobody could have expected. While snorkeling in the waters of Anse Lazio beach just off of the island of Praslin, Ian was preyed upon by what is believed to have been either a tiger or bull shark. Gemma could hear her husband’s horrific cries for help before his attacker let him go. Redmond was alive when he was brought to shore, his wife cradling him and whispering reassurances. Redmond died moments later from blood loss from the massive wound to his thigh.
Robert Pamperin and fellow diver Gerald Lehrer were enjoying time in the waters of La Jolla Cove, California searching for abalone. Lehrer, in the midst of his dive, was 50 feet or 15 meters from Pamperin when a large shadow with a belly of white passed overhead. Lehrer shot up for air as he considered the need for alarm, but when he broke the surface, he heard Pamperin was screaming for help before being jerked under by an unknown assailant. Lehrer swam to his friend and witnessed what he believed to be a Great White wrestling with Pamperin, the diver’s leg in its mouth. Despite Lehrer’s attempts to scare the shark off, his friend was lost. A year later, divers had found what to be Pamperin’s skeleton.
Whether it was a case of shock or over exaggeration, witnesses to the death of Lloyd Skinner claim that the beast that took down the Zimbabwean man was bigger than a minibus. In South Africa’s popular Cape Town, Skinner was chest-deep in water 100 meters or 330 feet from land when his massive attacker took him down. Described also as “dinosaur-sized,” the shark was seen approaching Skinner twice before finally wrapping its massive jaws around the swimmer and taking him out to sea. Cape Town’s disaster management services warned of sharks in the water, but regardless, people kept enjoying themselves anyways. It’s assumed that the shark completely devoured Skinner, as his body was never recovered.
Barry Wilson was a 17-year-old teen who still had his life ahead of him when he decided to go swimming with some friends near Pacific Grove, California. In approximately 30 feet or 9 meters of water deep, Wilson was met with a terrible fate when a curious shark attacked, whipping the swimmer from side-to-side. His screams attracted the attention of his friends, which included Brookner Brady. Brady and four members of a skin diving club rushed to Wilson’s aid after witnesses reported seeing the shark lift its prey into the air before dragging him back under. A 30-minute ordeal to get Wilson through rough surf back to land ended tragically when the teenager died from the severe wounds to his legs, back, and buttocks.
Terry Manuel was diving for abalone in Streaky Bay in South Australia when he was met with a 10 to 15 foot or 3 to 4.5 meter white predator. With his score in tow, Terry was returning to the surface when the large beast charged at him from below, lifting him high out of the water. The Carcharodon clamped its mighty jaws around Manuel. John Talbot, Manuel’s diving mate, rushed to pull his friend to safety but was met with the pull of the white pointer. Eventually, the shark took off, taking Terry’s right leg, and Talbot was able to pull his friend to safety. Terry died from his wounds on his chest, arm, and legs once in the safety of his boat. The attack frightened abalone divers so much that many refused to work for a period of 6 months.
In 1749, Brook Watson was a 14-year-old boy that was simply trying to enjoy a quick dip in the Havana harbor in Cuba. Little did he know that his innocent swim would wind up being a famed painting by John Singleton Copley. The oil canvas depicts the shark attack that Watson fell victim to, an ordeal that wound up costing him his right leg. The shark came down on Watson twice, the first time taking a chunk of flesh from his leg. Before being rescued, the shark returned, taking the young boys right foot with it. Watson survived the attack, though his right leg would need to be amputated below the knee.