Manuel López, a diver in his 50s, experienced a fatal shark attack on January 5 while collecting ax tripe from the ocean floor off the coast of Mexico.
The 19-foot-long great white shark ripped off his head and bit both of his shoulders in the presence of horrified fishermen near San Jose Beach in Tobari Bay, as reported by Tracking Shark.
José Bernal, who witnessed the incident, reported that local divers had recently been warned about sharks in the area and that many have chosen to stay onshore due to the sharks’ sightings.
Manuel’s economic instability ultimately drove him to take the risk of diving in spite of the warnings, resulting in his tragic death.
Nobody can say for sure what triggered the attack, but it may have been due to the turbulence and sound created by Lopez harvesting the mollusks or possibly because he was wearing a wetsuit, which could have caused the shark to mistake him for a seal, as reported by the outlet.
This marked the first fatal shark attack of the year and the second since February 12, 2022, when 56-year-old Victor Estrella was attacked by a shark in the Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of Yavaros, Sonora.
Great white sharks have up to 300 razor-sharp serrated teeth arranged in rows in their giant jaws, and when attacking, can swim at up to 35mph, guided by an extremely powerful sense of smell.
They typically feed on seals, sea lions, dolphins, and turtles; however, humans are often mistaken for seals, especially when wearing wet suits.
This species is most prevalent in the Gulf of California during December and January when pregnant female sharks enter the area in search of fat-filled sea lions.