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10-Year-Old Boy Killed by Shark

Aired September 2, 2001 - 08:48   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to take you now to a news conference happening in Virginia Beach, discussing the death of a 10- year-old boy who died this morning from a shark bite.

CHUCK APPLEBACK, EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES, VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA: ... those of us who would like to make some comments regarding the shark attack situation yesterday. After those comments are completed, we'll entertain questions from the floor. With that, I'd like to introduce Mayor Meyera E. Oberndorf.

MAYOR MEYERA E. OBERNDORF, VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA: I'd like to begin by expressing the deepest sympathy to the parents and the family of the little boy who perished and just to let you all know that we will be praying for you all and we are deeply saddened by the loss of this vital young man.

A 10-year-old Richmond resident suffered a shark attack in four feet of water in the Sandbridge (ph) section of the ocean front yesterday. David Peltier was reported to have died early this morning at the King's Daughters Hospital in Norfolk.

David Peltier was visiting his father, Richard, a resident of Virginia Beach. The attack occurred at 6:00 PM last night. The Peltiers were in about four feet of water on a sandbar, approximately 50 yards offshore the 3600 block of Sand Fiddler Road. The area is not guarded, but nearby lifeguards were the first emergency staff to respond.

The city's volunteer rescue squad arrived within minutes and transported David Peltier to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. He was later transported to CHKD. Again, I speak for the entire City of Virginia Beach when I say how terribly saddened I am by this horrible accident. We're all praying for young David, as well as his family.

Shark attacks are an exceptionally rare occurrence in Virginia Beach. City Emergency Medical Service officials said they are not aware of any swimmer ever being attacked by a shark in Virginia Beach. Thank you.

APPLEBACK: I'd like to introduce Bruce Edwards, who is the director of Emergency Medical Services for Virginia Beach.

BRUCE EDWARDS, EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES, VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA: Thanks, Chuck, and good morning. I'd like to echo the mayor's comments relative to our great concern and our sadness upon learning of this, the death of this young lad who sustained this horrible attack.

I do want to make a few comments about what we're doing right now. First of all, I'd like to indicate that the beaches in Virginia Beach are open to swimming. The mayor, however, has asked that all public safety officials take all possible precautions to safeguard swimmer safety. The Virginia Marine Sciences Museum Curator White, who you'll hear from in just a second, will conduct -- has conducted a helicopter fly over of Sandbridge (ph) and adjacent waters. He did that earlier this morning. He will be checking for signs, or did check for signs, of unusual shark activity or other dangers in the ocean.

EMS presently has the entire dive team deployed, that's some 40 individuals. We have four boats that are covering the area from Cape Henry to South Sandbridge (ph). We also have an ATV, jet-ski, and four-wheel-drive vehicles that are being used to patrol the beach.

All lifeguards will be briefed at 9:30, when they go on stands, to look for any unusual activity in the water. We're asking that all swimmers be alert and that they should swim in a lifeguarded area for protection. And, again, I will reiterate that we are doing everything possible to safeguard the swimmers in Virginia Beach and the beaches will remain open until otherwise noted. Thank you.

APPLEBACK: Maylin White is the curator of the Virginia Marine Science Museum near Virginia Beach and has been involved in this situation actively since yesterday. He has a few comments he'd like to make this morning.

MAYLIN WHITE, CURATOR, VIRGINIA MARINE SCIENCE MUSEUM: Thank you. First of all, again, our hearts go out to the family of the unfortunate young boy. This morning, at about 7:00 a.m., members of the Marine Science Museum went with a police helicopter, surveyed the coast from Little Island all the way north to Lynnhaven Inlet. We did not see any shark, shark activity.

We did notice a lot of dolphins, particularly around the Cape Henry area, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and schools of menhaden that were close to shore. But we did not see any sharks.

The question that had been asked repeatedly is what kind of shark could have done this and we do not know. We do not have enough information to tell you. If we were to make an educated guess, it could have been a large sandbar shark, and that's all we can say about that at this time.

APPLEBACK: All right. We'll be happy to entertain questions that you might have. Both the people who have spoke to you earlier as well as with us, our city manager James Spore and chief operating officer Oral Lambert and we're all available at this point. Yes.

QUESTION: I know you said you don't really know what kind of shark it is, that you're guessing that it might have been a large sandbar shark. Can you describe them a little bit? And also, I'm wondering how unusual it would have been to be in only four feet of water.

APPLEBACK: Maylin, could you come up here?

WHITE: One of the reasons sandbar sharks have that name is that they are up and down, around sandbars. It's a very typical shark shape, I think anybody would recognize it. It can be confused with several other shark species that also have that typical shark...

PHILLIPS: You've been watching live a news conference from Virginia Beach, officials responding to the death of 10-year-old David Peltier. He was the young boy swimming at the Sandbridge (ph) area beach and was attacked by an eight foot shark. We're told it was in about four feet of water on a sandbar where the young boy was, it's about 50 feet offshore.

It was not a guarded area. There are lifeguards in that area, however this area was not guarded. But we're told by the mayor that they did respond quite quickly and that this is an exceptionally rare occurrence in Virginia Beach to have a shark attack like this.

Now, Bruce Edwards, the Virginia Beach director of the medical services came up and gave a number, or a number or a number of points of advice, and that is that they will be having a helicopter flying over this area looking for shark activity. They have the EMS dive team, that's about 40 divers, that have been deployed, checking the area. They have four boats out, an ATV, a jet-ski and four wheel drive officers out there patrolling. They've asked all lifeguards to be on alert and that swimmers can be swim at the beach, but to be quite alert and only swim in a lifeguarded area.

Once again, we'll continue to follow the shark attack in Virginia Beach, brining more information as we get it.

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