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U.S. Park Service Holds Press Conference on Fatal North Carolina Shark Attack

Aired September 4, 2001 - 11:50   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.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to go to Manteo, North Carolina, where the Park Service is giving an update on that most recent shark bite. Let's listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

MOLLY DOLL, U.S. PARK SERVICE: ... was due -- it is a sharp- force injury -- massive loss of blood due to multiple shark bites.

QUESTION: Can you repeat that?

DOLL: The cause of death, according to the Pitt County medical examiner, was massive loss of blood due to multiple shark bites.

We also have completed two overflights this morning, one which was done by the U.S. Coast Guard, that was a helicopter flight on an H-60 that went from Cape Hatteras Lighthouse north to Cape Henry and the Chesapeake Bay. We also had a helicopter fixed-wing aircraft that flew the park from the north end of the park at Whalebone Junction, down through Hatteras, Oaker Coke Island (ph) and on to Port Smith Village, the island just south of the Oaker Coke Island (ph).

We have with us right now Mr. Frank Hudgins, who is the director of animal husbandry at the North Carolina Aquarium, here at Roanoke Island. He is the biologist who flew with the Coast Guard, and I'll let him come on up to talk to you so you can get his observations.

Thank you.

FRANK HUDGINS, BIOLOGIST: Yes, hi, I am Frank Hudgins.

QUESTION: Can you spell your last name, sir.

HUDGINS: H-U-D-G-I-N-S.

I flew with the Coast Guard this morning, and we flew from Cape Henry to the Diamond Shoals Lighthouse at Cape Hatteras, looking for any unusual signs of marine life. What we did see was large schools of sting rays, a lot of bottlenose dolphins, and no sharks. The water was fairly silty on the shoreline, but very clear, once you got off of the beach, outside the outside bar. It did not seem to be anything out of the ordinary, as we could tell at that point. QUESTION: Frank, I don't know if you know the people we last talked to, a few moments ago, but do you know what kind of shark cased attack, based on the autopsy results.

HUDGINS: That I don't believe that we can tell at that point. I don't know what the bite radius was. Evidently, it was a large animal.

QUESTION: Andy Fox of WAVY TV.

One of the questions that remains is going to happen tonight? We have been saying that you shouldn't swim between dawn and dusk. In North Carolina, are the officials going to close the beaches at dusk, for precaution's sake? D you know that?

HUDGINS: I do not know that answer.

QUESTION: Is there any plan to do that, Ms. Doll?

DOLL: I am sorry, could you repeat that?

QUESTION: We were saying from the start that the most dangerous time for these attacks is between dawn and dusk. Is there is an effort by North Carolinian authorities to close these beaches at dusk tonight, just as a precaution's sake, in case they might come back to the sandbar for feeding?

HUDGINS: There is no plan at this time to close the beach this evening. We will be doing patrols this evening at dusk. In fact, we've got another one that will be going out momentarily with a Park Service fixed-wing aircraft.

QUESTION: Have you heard anything more about the bite radius, anything more from the autopsy?

(CROSSTALK)

DOLL: No, the medical examiner's not going to be able to determine the type of shark it was. He will have to bring in other experts from the field, like Frank here, to look at those bites, to make that type of determination.

HUDGINS: The medical examiner did say that there were no teeth that were found in the injuries, which will make the identification a little bit more difficult.

QUESTION: Frank, how unusual is that, not to find any teeth with a shark like that?

HUDGINS: I wouldn't expect not find any, but by any hopes if there was some way to identify it, that would be good.

QUESTION: When are you guys going to get the information, to try to determine what kind of shark it was?

HUDGINS: I don't know that at this time. QUESTION: Are they going to send it over (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

HUDGINS: I don't know that either.

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