Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Researcher says it was a bull shark that attacked woman in St. Pete Beach canal last month

ST. PETE BEACH — A large bull shark patrolling a murky area where bait fish congregate was responsible for the attack on a woman swimming in a canal behind her house on July 22, says one of the world's leading shark researchers.

George Burgess, director of the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File, said 19-year-old Jenna James was the victim of "an investigatory bite," in which the shark attacked to determine what she was.

Burgess drew those conclusions after visiting with James and viewing her wounds.

The shark was 8 to 9 feet long and 200 to 300 pounds, Burgess estimated.

James suffered multiple bites on her right thigh and calf, Burgess said, but is doing "surprisingly well." She is walking and showing little indication that she was attacked by one of the most aggressive predators in local waters.

From interviews and an inspection of the wounds, Burgess surmised that the shark swam into the brackish, murky waters of the canal from nearby Boca Ciega Bay, and was attracted by James and her older sister, Laura, treading water.

James was fortunate that the worst puncture wounds were away from major arteries or nerves, he said. She was helped onto a float by her sister and pulled onto their backyard dock.

"She's a very fortunate girl," Burgess said. "Very lucky her sister was there to help."

The James family has declined to comment.

Shark attacks are rare in the Tampa Bay area.

This was the 13th unprovoked shark attack in Pinellas County since 1882, according to the Shark Attack File, but the second since May.

Researcher says it was a bull shark that attacked woman in St. Pete Beach canal last month 08/13/09 [Last modified: Thursday, August 13, 2009 9:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter

    Blogs

    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.

  2. The Lightning's 2017-18 road jersey
  3. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  4. Lego T-rex and scores of other brick sculptures free to see in Tampa

    News

    TAMPA — Envision the effort that went into building a basic Lego model with your kids. Now imagine arranging the same toys to look like the Mona Lisa or an 80,020-piece Tyrannosaurus rex.

    Eliana Goldberg, 5, of Wesley Chapel looks at a Lego sculpture called "Everlasting" at The Art of the Brick exhibit, which opened Friday in Tampa and runs through Sept. 4. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  5. Rick Scott signs medical marijuana, 37 other bills into law

    Blogs

    Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott