When Sharks Attack Swimsuit Models

By Eric S. Page and Josh Kleinbaum
|  Thursday, Sep 3, 2009  |  Updated 1:30 PM PDT
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Swimsuit Model Describes Great White Attack

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When Bethany Edmund felt the sharp pain in her right foot, she thought she kicked a reef. Edmund, a 22-year-old nursing student and part-time swimsuit model, was swimming in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Carlsbad, Calif. An experienced swimmer, she didn't think much of it.

Then she felt something smack into her foot. Then her thigh. Suddenly, she was propelled a foot out of the water -- and saw a six-foot shadow underneath her. The thought occurred to her: Could it be a shark?

"It was then that I realized what could be happening," said Edmund, who survived the Aug. 25 shark attack with nothing more than a dozen puncture wounds. "I started to body-surf toward shore.

"The first wave I caught, it felt like somebody grabbed me and yanked me back toward the wave," she said. "I caught the next wave, and I felt the same sharp pain on my calf that I felt earlier on my foot. This time, I was pulled underwater and shaken for four or five seconds, and I accidentally kicked it, and whatever it was let me go.

"At that point, I was waste-high in water and I just ran out of the water. I got out of the water and thought, 'What the heck just happened?'"

Edmond had her camera with her, and shot some pictures while the attack was happening. She didn't know for sure that she was attacked by a shark until she saw the dark grey shadow in one of her photos.

In all, the shark hit Edmond five times -- three bumps without teeth and two bites. The bites left a total of 12 puncture wounds. Ralph Collier, a shark expert and president of the Shark Research Committee, examined photos of the bite wounds and determined that they are consistent with an attack by a baby great white shark.

"The shark probably came to take an initial bite to determine whether this was anything of interest," Collier said. "After determining that she wasn't, it was going to leave. She struck it, and it in turn retaliated.

"When you think of a shark attack, you think of somebody losing a limb or having huge chunks of meat torn off. Frequently, shark attacks are nothimg more than this -- where a shark came up to test something unfamiliar."

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