David Martin, a retired veterinarian and triathlete from Solana Beach, Calif., died April 25 shortly after being attacked by a shark. He was 66.
Dr. Martin, who had been training with the Triathlon Club of San Diego out of Solana Beach for the past three years, was swimming with nine others about 150 yards off shore when the attack occurred around 7 a.m.
After hearing his cry for help, fellow swimmers pulled him from the surf and onto the beach. Martin’s injuries included several deep wounds to the legs. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:49 a.m.
Judging by the wounds and type of attack, marine biologists believe that the shark was an adult great white about 12 to 16 feet long.
“I believe that the shark most likely mistook the group of swimmers as a pod of seals,” Dr. Richard Rosenblatt of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography said in a Solana Beach City press statement.
“Great White shark attacks are characterized by a sudden powerful rush of water, as the animal rises up from a significant depth to attack the victim from below. We can only assume that this was the case of mistaken identity on behalf of the shark.”
Sherriff helicopters began patrolling the shoreline the day of the attack to see if it could track the animal, but the shark could not be found.
The 17 miles of coastline have since reopened.
At a Sunday press conference, Martin’s grown children said that they were consoled by the fact that their father had died among friends doing something that he enjoyed.
“He died doing what he liked, surrounded by his friends, in a place he loved,” Jeff Martin, the eldest son, said. “Even through our grief, this gives us an inner peace.”
The city is working with the Martin family to launch a website where friends and family can submit their condolences and memories.
A memorial fund in Dave Martin’s name has also been established at the First Pacific Bank of California, Solana Beach branch, located at 937 Lomas Santa Fe Drive.