Lurking somewhere off the windswept coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a savage and dangerous beast awaits its next meal. Following its natural prey closer to shore, a massive shark was poised to devour anything in its path this weekend — even vacationers enjoying a swim in the warm, late summer waters.
In an attack that witnesses have called “unprecedented” in its ferocity, 26-year-old Arthur Medici was savagely mauled by a shark on Saturday, suffering fatal wounds. His death is the first to result from a shark attack in Massachusetts going back to 1936.
Shark infested waters
Medici was only thirty feet from shore, boogie-boarding in the waters off of Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet when he was ambushed from below. Witnesses were stunned by the shark’s brutality.
“I saw two guys in the water boogie boarding and one got engulfed,” remembered Joe Booth Jr., who came to the beach to surf and spoke with The Boston Herald following the tragedy. “The thrashing was unprecedented,” he said.
The victim, who was visiting Cape Cod and came from Revere, never stood a chance. “The amount of volatility was scary. He got nailed … That shark went in for the kill and then let him go,” Booth recalled.
When Medici was attacked, his friend mounted an effort to save him. Booth saw it all from the safety of the shore, noting that, “It had to be a 10- to 12-foot shark. His buddy frantically got him out. He’s a hero because he knew what was in the water.”
After his friend pulled him to shore, first responders attempted to conduct CPR to revive the victim before rushing him to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, where he died. The Wellfleet Police Department was on the scene.
Town Administrator Dan Hoort and Wellfleet Selectboard Chair Janet Reinhart said that the town was “heartbroken” over the tragedy. “We send our sympathies to his family and the friends of this young man,” they wrote in a message aired by CBS Boston. “We share the grief and pain you feel. We are grateful to the family, friends, beach staff, public and first responders who worked so valiantly to save his life.”
Local beaches were closed for 24-hours, although that hasn’t kept residents and vacationers from worrying about the risk of another attack.
Just last month, 61-year-old William Lytton was bitten by a shark at a nearby beach, and he only escaped with his life after striking the predator on its gills, per instructions the man said he heard while watching a nature documentary.
Lytton, a neurologist, is still recovering from his wounds in a hospital setting, and still has another surgery scheduled before he can be released. His attack was the first in the state since 2012, speaking to the rarity of such encounters.
Signs at the Newcomb Hollow Beach where Medici was ominously attacked warn swimmers to “be shark smart” after experts have recorded a noticeable increase in sightings. Despite the concerns, though, shark attacks remain incredibly rare, with just two recorded fatalities in the U.S. throughout 2018.