Developing Story: Revere Man Dies in Wellfleet Shark Attack; First in Massachusetts Since 1936

Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet one hour after a fatal shark attack

WELLFLEET – A 26-year-old man from Revere died from his injuries Saturday afternoon following a shark attack off Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet.

It happened just after 12 p.m. in the waters about 300 yards south of the main swimming area.

Arthur Medici was rushed from the scene to Cape Cod Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“They were already carrying him on a backboard. I met them about 150 yards down (the beach). There were about 40 bystanders around him and first-responders carrying him off,” said Cape Cod National Seashore Ranger Meghan Farrell.

Witnesses indicated Medici was on a boogie board at the time of the attack. One witness said he had seen him at the beach in the past.

“Out of nowhere, this guy was engulfed in what looked like boiling water. In my opinion it was not a small shark. It looked like an eruption of whitewater about 15 feet in diameter,” said Joe Booth of Mattapoisett who was on the beach at the time.

Booth said another person surfing with Medici went back into the water to help pull him out.

He said with two shark attacks within a month, something has to be done.

“It doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon,” he said.

“I don’t know really what to feel or think or do. I’m just standing here in a state of shock of my own. This is unfortunately now a modern-day Amity Island,” he said, referring to the fictional island in the movie Jaws.

Bill Weber was in the water surfing when the attack happened.

“I saw and heard a bunch of commotion and I realized everyone was in. I was the last one out looking for a wave to get out of the water because I realized there was a shark. I didn’t realize there was an attack,” he said.

Other witnesses described a scene of many people jumping in to help, including some off-duty lifeguards.

Cape Cod towns stop using lifeguards after Labor Day Weekend.

“I don’t know, I just don’t know what’s going on. It was a very disheartening thing. I just feel bad for the guy and my thoughts are with him,” said Dave Franchitto of Wellfleet, who was also surfing Saturday afternoon.

“I just saw the crowd and then I ran over and was going to try and get help and then I realized help was on the way,” said Franchitto.

Several beachgoers initially began to help Medici before Wellfleet rescue crews arrived.

All ocean-side beaches in Wellfleet were closed to swimming after the attack. Truro beaches were also closed.

It was the first fatal shark attack in Massachusetts since 1936.

A doctor from New York state was bitten by a shark in Truro last month, but survived the attack.

State Police, Wellfleet Police and the Cape Cod National Seashore were all investigating the attack.

Beachgoer Rich Littaeur of Truro said he saw a lot of blood in the water in the moments after the attack. He also said there needs to be much better cellular phone service at the beach along the Outer Cape.

Booth described the afternoon as a calm day, with picturesque surf and some fun little waves.

But that image was shattered as the man was attacked by the shark.

Booth said Medici and another surfer were just south of a pack of about 20 surfers when the attack happened.

He said he’s likely go surfing in Rhode Island instead in the future.

Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) and 4th Barnstable State Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown), who represent the Outer Cape in the Legislature, issued the following statement Saturday afternoon.

“We are deeply saddened that a young man sustained life-threatening injuries and has died from an apparent shark bite today off Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet. 
To the victim’s family, we offer our sincere condolences. A beautiful September day at the beach has been marred by tragedy. Our prayers are with you at this unimaginably difficult time. 
We are immensely grateful to the Wellfleet Rescue Squad, Fire Dept, Police, the Town’s beach staff, and bystanders whose preparation and quick action provided help as soon as possible. Their vigilance, heroism, and response helps keep visitors and residents alike safe every day of the year.
In the coming days and weeks, we stand ready to assist Wellfleet, Truro, and all Cape Cod towns in responding to the risks posed by shark activity in the waters surrounding our communities. 
We encourage people to be vigilant and follow the guidances posted on the informational signs found at the beaches,” the statement read from the lawmakers.
In a statement Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO Wendy Northcross said they were extremely saddened by the news of the death of the swimmer and extended their sympathies and expressions of support to the family.
“While details are just now unfolding that can tell us more, we want to note that shark/human interactions are still extremely rare.  The University of Florida data shows that in 2017, 88 people reported unprovoked contact with sharks, five of which were fatal, worldwide.  Sharks have been in our oceans for over 400 million years.

However, for Cape Cod, we are experiencing an increasingly active shark population, which is a relatively new phenomenon for our region, requiring us to learn best practices to in order to keep humans educated and safe. 

Local, national and international media coverage and extensive content in many information channels, including our own website continues to advise residents and guests to avoid swimming near seals, stay close to shore, avoid swimming where there are known to be sharks, and avoid dawn/dusk and night swimming, for example. 

The Cape Cod Chamber will continue to work with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and the Cape Cod National Seashore and others in providing facts and tips to help swimmers stay safe,” the statement read.

By MATT PITTA, News Director
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