• Sunday marks one-year anniversary since fatal shark attack on Cape

    By: Jim Morelli

    Updated:

    Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of a fatal shark attack on the Cape.

    Arthur Medici, 26, from Revere, died last Sept. 15 after being bitten by a shark while boogie boarding off Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet.

    Medici's friend, who was in the water with him, dragged him 40 yards back from the shore where people started applying tourniquets and performing CPR. He was rushed to Cape Cod Hospital, where he was pronounced dead after massive blood loss. 

    It was the second shark attack of 2018, but the first deadly attack off the Massachusetts coast in more than 80 years.

    Residents of the Cape spent this past winter meeting to talk about ways to keep the waters safer.

    They made numerous changes on many beaches, including adding larger shark warning signs, new aluminum lifeguard stands that are 3 feet taller than the old wooden stands and adding special colored flags.

    At all four Wellfleet beaches, yellow call boxes have been installed that immediately call 9-1-1 when the phone is picked up.

    Newcomb Hollow Beach was also closed to swimming for a portion of the day Sunday after a sharh sighting. 

    A buoy was installed offshore this summer to acoustically track some 200 tagged great white sharks. That has enabled lifeguards to get swimmers out of the water when a shark is in the area.

    Others have taken personal precautions. 

    "A lot of us have striped our boogie boards and surfboards and stand-up paddleboards on the bottom to mimic an animal in the ocean that the sharks don't like," said Deb Felix. 

    Felix surfs nearly every day at Newcomb Hollow Beach. But since last fall she has not gone without new pieces of equipment. 

    "The shark bands are supposed to repel the sharks. They don't have a lot of research on them for great whites, but for other sharks, they do produce a magnetic field that they don't like," she said.

    "I put one on a wrist and one on an ankle."

    The fatal attack in 2018 prompted changes at the beach beginning in summer 2019. 

    "Because the shark risk is higher and we do get good weather, as it is today, we still get a lot of people at the beach," said Suzy Blake, the head lifeguard in Wellfleet. "So the town of Wellfleet decided to keep lifeguards on duty through September." 

    And then there are those who never went back in. 

    "Some people are not swimming at all, they're really scared," Felix said. "Does it give me a bit of trepidation now? Yeah. 

    "But we all have to get back out there and enjoy it because it's such a great place to be."

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