Wellfleet Shark Attack Victim Was Engineering Student, Outdoorsman

Arthur Medici

WELLFLEET – Friends say a 26-year-old Revere man who was killed in a shark attack off Newcomb Hollow Beach in Welfleet Saturday was an engineering student who loved the outdoors.

Arthur Medici was bitten while boogie boarding and later died at Cape Cod Hospital. He was the state’s first shark attack fatality in more than 80 years and the second attack victim this summer on Cape Cod.

Bunker Hill Community College in Boston said in a statement that Medici was a part-time engineering student at the school last spring. It did not provide any other information about him.

Medici moved to the U.S. from Brazil two years ago to attend college. Friends say he loved to hike and surf.

The beach remained closed to swimming Sunday. All ocean-side beaches in Wellfleet and Truro were off-limits for swimming after the attack.

Robert Bessler, a Wellfleet resident and surfer, said the attack had put the local surfing community on edge.

“It’s like being struck by lightning,” said Bessler, 34.

“You hear about it. It doesn’t seem real. You kind of imagine it’ll never be you.”

“It’s kind of slowly sinking in that the danger is quite real,” he added.

Bessler said he planned to take a week or two off from surfing, but would likely resume the sport.

“Overall, I don’t think there’s much you can do about the situation. It’s their home, sharks live here and we’re not really on their menu, but unfortunately when they do take a test bite and decide we’re not on their menu, it just happens to be pretty devastating generally.”

Shark sightings have been increasing in the area as the gray seal population has increased.

A 61-year-old man suffered puncture wounds in a Cape Cod shark attack last month.

The incident occurred in Truro within the boundary of Cape Cod National Seashore. The man was about 30 yards offshore when he was bitten.

The last fatal shark attack in Massachusetts was in 1936, according to the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Gavin Naylor, the director of the program, said such attacks are “very rare” and that “shark attacks in the summer are a direct consequence of more people and more animals in the water.”

Naylor advised people not to go into the water alone or at dawn or dusk. He also said the heavy presence of seals and throngs of fish moving and jumping may signal a shark is nearby.

Officials have put out warning signs and published brochures, Hartsgrove said.

“I don’t know what the town is really supposed to do,” Bessler said. “They can’t remove the sharks, they can’t remove the surfers and they can’t remove the seals.”

On Monday, the Conservancy’s Sharktivity App indicated shark activity close the Nauset Beach in Orleans.

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