WELLFLEET, Mass. — A man has died after being attacked by a shark off Newcomb Hollow Beach on Saturday afternoon, the Cape and Islands DA's office said.
Wellfleet Police confirmed the shark attack happened just after noon off the beach.
Wellfleet Police Lt. Michael Hurley tells The Associated Press the victim, identified by Massachusetts State Police as 26-year-old Revere native Arthur Medici, succumbed to his injuries following the attack.
Officials said the victim was transported to Cape Cod Hospital by ambulance, where he was pronounced dead.
Medici's friend, Isaac Rocha, said he and Medici were planning on returning to Boston on Sunday night after a weekend on Cape Cod, but Rocha was the lone one to make it back after the fatal encounter.
"It's something like out of a scene of a movie," Rocha said. "You never, ever think it's going to get to that point."
Rocha described the scene at the beach, talking about the sense of urgency during the whole situation.
"I saw him go down in the water," Rocha said. "He popped back up and saw a shark tail. I heard him screaming, then I swam to him as fast as I could. It was very out of nowhere, he wasn't even facing it. The shark got him from behind, the fatal blow was behind the knee."
Rocha fought through the panic to pull his friend about 40 yards back to shore, and used Medici's board strap as a tourniquet.
"I had him in my hands, I saw his lips turning pale," Rocha said. "I didn't want to believe it, but deep down I knew."
Rocha said he and Medici grew especially close when the victim began dating his sister a few years ago, and said Medici had recently purchased an engagement ring for a planned proposal.
"It's horrible, it's a loss of words, we're devastated," Rocha said. "He was the most loving person I knew."
A vigil was held for the victim on Sunday night, with those in attendance paying respects to his legacy.
"The town of Wellfleet is behind them in sending love," Wellfleet resident and vigil organizer Rachael Finn said.
Dozens of people rushed to help the man, including off-duty lifeguards.
"We don't have lifeguards this time of the year," surfer Richard Littauer said. "But, they were on the beach and ran down. They were amazing. They were doing CPR and did all they could to save him."
Ginger Khoury, a visitor from Albany, New York, said those making rescue attempts tried their hardest to save the man, but it wasn't enough.
"They ran as if their lives depended on it and they jumped right in and did everything," Khoury said. "There was nothing more that people could have done, it was a dire situation.”
Witnesses at the scene told officers that Medici and another man were about 30 yards off the beach when the attack occurred.
“There was a lot of blood in the water," surfer Littauer said. "Pretty bad. I saw him a couple days ago with his yellow board and his flippers. He's a really good bodyboarder, I see him in the waves, just like a surfer in the bigger waves.”
The deadly incident is the state's first fatal shark attack since 1936, and was the second shark attack on Cape Cod this summer.
"I don't think people should be in fear, but you have to be careful," Rocha said. "That one second you're not paying attention, it might happen."
The type of shark has not been confirmed, and several seals were seen in the area on Saturday.
The attack is under investigation, by the Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office, as well as Massachusetts State Police.
You can help out Medicis' family with funeral costs by donating here.
On Sunday, the Cape Cod National Seashore issued a statement regarding the fatal shark attack:
This is a sad day for the family of Arthur Medici of Revere, MA, the national seashore, and the Cape Cod community. On Saturday, September 15, 2018 at approximately 12:30 pm at Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet, a suspected white shark attacked the 26-year old Medici. Mr. Medici died as a result of the injuries sustained in the attack. He was removed from the water and transported to Cape Cod Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent Brian Carlstrom said, "We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our condolences go out to the Medici Family."
The incident is still under investigation by National Park Service rangers, the Wellfleet Police Department, and the Cape and Islands District Attorney's office. The public will be notified when the species of shark has been confirmed. Wellfleet beaches are currently closed to swimming.
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.
This is a developing story. Stay with Boston 25 News for more updates as they become available.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Cox Media Group