UPDATED FRIDAY MAY 17: Edwin Naula, director of The Galápagos National Park told the Ecuadorian newspaper El Universo that a shark attack on a surfer Tuesday was what he called “an isolated incident.” Such attacks, he said, are relatively rare although not unheard of in the Galápagos waters.
The attack occurred in the waters off Tortuga Bay in Santa Cruz Island. Naula said that on rare occasions, sharks turn agressive when they mistake humans for sea lions. The park directorate said it had started monitoring sharks in the marine reserve there to forestall further attacks.
The surfer, 29-year-old Diego Intriago, suffered a 16 inch long bite on the calf of his left leg that caused him considerable injury although it was not life-threatening, said the report from the park.
The surfer was on the crowded beach of Tortuga Bay, accompanied by three others, who helped him out of the water. A doctor who visited the site and a ranger on duty gave him first aid. Intriago was then transported by boat to a hospital in Puerto Ayora, according to officials.
“This is a relatively large surface wound in the left leg, but that does not represent a commitment of tendon or muscle,” said Dr. Karla Vásconez, director of the hospital.
Danny Rueda, of the Galapagos National Park, told El Universo that experts estimated the shark was about six feet in length. The estimate was made, Rueda said, by carefully studying the size of the wound on Intriago’s leg.
Other surfers said this was the first time they had heard of a shark attack here. The last reported shark attack in Galápagos was on the island of Isabela in 2009. Technicians from the Galápagos National park hope to determine the species of shark responsible for this attack.
(Check out the newspaper artist’s conception of the shark attack.)