Spanish beaches reopen after shark attack discarded

26th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Three beaches in northeastern Spain reopened Saturday after experts concluded that a girl was bitten there a day earlier by a bluefish and not a shark as initially thought, an official said.

Madrid -- Three beaches in northeastern Spain reopened Saturday after experts concluded that a girl was bitten there a day earlier by a bluefish and not a shark as initially thought, an official said.

The 11-year-old girl was rushed to hospital after being bitten in the foot at Sant Salvador beach near Tarragona on Friday morning. She was discharged after having stitches to a six-centimetre (two-inch) cut.

Local authorities closed the beach to bathing afterwards along with two neighbouring beaches -- Coma-Ruga and El Francas -- due to suspicions that a blue shark which had been spotted earlier some 30 kilometres (20 miles) from where the girl was attacked.

But maritime experts later concluded that the bite suffered by the girl was too small to have been caused by a shark and was compatible instead with the marks that would be left by a bluefish, which has strong jaws and can be very aggressive.

Marine police patrolled the waters of the three beaches on Saturday and after finding no signs of bluefish officials reopened the three beaches, said a spokesman for the local municipality of El Vendrell.

They also caught and killed a blue shark which had been spotted on Friday, he added. Maritime experts concluded that it had only approached the coast because it was sick.

Blue sharks are one of the species of shark which have attacked humans in the past.

They are present off Spain's northeastern coast but rarely approach the shoreline.

In August 2007 biologists captured a grey sandbar shark, a species which does not pose a threat to humans, in shallow waters at another beach in the area, which had been frightening holidaymakers.

It was taken to Barcelona Aquarium where it died shortly after.

AFP / Expatica

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