Local Community Reacts to Fatal Wellfleet Shark Attack

WELLFLEET – Local municipal, elected and business officials are reacting to Saturday’s fatal shark attack in Wellfleet, calling for vigilance when in the water.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our condolences go out to the Medici Family,” said Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent Brian Carlstrom.

He said the public will be notified when the species of shark has been confirmed.

“People recreating in Cape Cod waters should read and heed advisories posted at beaches. Do not swim near seals; swim close to shore where feet can touch the bottom; swim, paddle, and kayak in groups; do not swim alone at dawn or dusk; avoid isolation; and limit splashing and do not wear shiny jewelry,” Carlstrom said.

Arthur Medici, 26, of Revere, Massachusetts, was bitten by a shark while boogie boarding off Newcomb Hollow Beach. He died from his injuries a short time later.

It was the state’s first shark attack fatality in more than 80 years and the second attack victim this summer on Cape Cod.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, which has been conducting a white shark population study over the past several years, said they offered their “most sincere condolences to the family of the victim.”

“We remain committed to facilitating the study of shark behavior in an effort to provide information tothe publicand to safety officials who manage our beaches,” Executive Director Cynthia Wigren said in a statement.

Welfleet Town Manager Dan Hoort and the Wellfleet Board of Selectmen issued a statement saying the town was “heartbroken” by the tragedy.

“We send our sympathies to his family and the friends of this young man. We share the grief and pain you feel.We are grateful to the family, friends, beach staff, public and first responderswho worked so valiantly to save his life,” the statement read.

Fourth Barnstable State Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown) & Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) issued a joint statement Saturday night.

“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.”

A statement from the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce said the organization was “extremely saddened” by the news of the death.

“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.”

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