First Recorded Fatal Shark Attack in the State of Maine Results in Death of 64-Year-Old Woman
Literally no one had been killed in a shark attack off the coast of Maine in recorded history until last week. All of that changed when a great white shark attacked and killed a 64-year-old woman enjoying the water along the shore at Harpswell.
The coast of Maine is not known as a danger zone for shark attacks. With that said, the coast of Maine is at the northern tip of the zone for great white sharks that are scene in these waters from time to time. Although not commonly spotted off the Maine coast, one or two shark sightings are reported each year, according to the National Oceanographic Data Center. Until last week, the most recent shark sightings off the Maine shore were one each year from 2017 through 2019. These sightings occurred in Kennebunkport, Stratton Island, and near Wells.
In the aftermath of the fatal shark attack at Harpswell in Maine, swimming restrictions were imposed at two coastal state parks in the area of the deadly marine incidents. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry restricted beach goers to go no further than ankle deep into the water at the shoreline. This restriction was put in place at the Popham State Park as well as the Reid State Park.
Also following the deadly shark attack, the Maine Marine Patrol took to the water to try and track down the great white that took the woman’s life. As of a week after the lethal incident, no sharks of any type were spotted. Officials from Marine Patrol did advise that they had come upon seals feeding on fish in the coastal waters. Seals are common prey for sharks.
In addition, throughout the week, people visiting the shoreline reported seeing a shark lurking in the water. In fact, on each occasion, citizens were mistaking a harmless ocean sunfish meandering the waterway.
While “Shark Week” makes for good television viewing, the reality is that shark attacks are not particularly commonplace along the coastline of the United States. On average, about five people die from shark attacks worldwide each year, according to National Geographic.
Putting the death rate associated with a shark encounter into perspective, a person has a one in 63 chance of dying from the flu during a lifetime. That compares to a one in 11 million change of being killed by a shark.
Records have been maintained on shark attacks around the world since 1580. Between 1580 and 2010, 93 percent of all reported shark attacks involved men. Surfers account for about half of all targets of shark attacks.
Public Beaches, Shark Safety, and Other Issues
When it comes to guarding against shark attacks and other hazards at public beaches, those responsible for overseeing these locations or destinations have a legal obligation to their visitors. At the heart of this legal obligation is the duty to ensure that a beach setting is reasonably safe for people enjoying the shore and surrounding water. For example, now that fatal shark attacks are known to be a possibility in Maine, operators of public beaches need to take all reasonable steps to protect visitors from attack by these potentially vicious predators.
Your Legal Rights After an Aquatic Accident
While shark attacks may not be commonplace, a number of other types of aquatic accidents happen with what can be said to be alarming frequency. These include aquatic accidents, including drownings, that occur at public beaches.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of some type of accident at a public beach, or similar location, an aquatic accident lawyer from The Doan Law Firm has the experience, commitment, and tenacity necessary to fight for your vital legal rights. You can schedule an initial consultation and case evaluation with one of our aquatic accident lawyers any time by calling (800) 349-0000.
A nationwide law firm, you can meet with an attorney at any one of our offices located from coast to coast across the country. We can also schedule a virtual consultation with you online. There is no charge for an initial consultation with a Doan Law Firm aquatic injury lawyer.
The Doan Law Firm makes at attorney fee guarantee to you. We never charge an attorney fee unless we win for you.