A massive great white shark decapitated a diver in what was the first fatal shark attack of 2023, according to reports.
Around 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 5, Manuel Lopez went diving in the waters of Tobari Bay, off the coast of Benito Juárez in Sonora on Mexico’s west coast. Using surface air supplied by hoses from a boat, Lopez dove into depths of as much as 59 feet in the water. Lopez was diving for ax tripe – a species of mollusk similar to scallops.
A fisherman allegedly witnessed the gruesome shark attack.
“He was diving when the animal attacked him, impressively ripping off his head and biting both shoulders,” Jose Bernal told Tracking Sharks – a website that tracks shark attacks around the world with the purpose to “understand and share information on why shark attacks occur and to help prevent negative shark encounters in the future.”
Bernal said large sharks had been spotted in the area.
“Local divers had been warned about the presence of sharks in the area and most had not been out for several days,” Bernal said.
The shark sightings forced many fishermen and divers to avoid the area, but the 53-year-old Lopez continued to dive despite the risk because of a seafood shortage in the area.
This was the first fatal shark attack of 2023, according to Tracking Sharks.
Tracking Sharks noted, “White sharks are most prevalent in the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, during December and January when pregnant female sharks enter the area. The sharks will often search for fat-filled sea lions to feed upon due to their high caloric count.”
In February 2022, 56-year-old Victor Estrella was killed by a great white shark in the same area. He was diving for scallops when he was killed by the shark.
In December 2018, 35-year-old Nahum Verdugo Aguilera was killed in the same area by a shark. The shark ripped off the man’s leg and opened up a large wound on his abdomen in the Gulf of California.
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