Skip to comments.SHARK ATTACK Surfer had to fight off shark to rescue girl, punching the animal
Posted on 06/27/2005 8:39:11 AM PDT by ppaul
A Florida surfer said he acted as ''bait'' to try to distract the shark while he wrestled the 14-year-old girl onto his surfboard: ''I've never been so scared in my life.'' The teen later died.
Off Miramar Beach on the Gulf Coast of Florida's Panhandle, longtime surfer Tim Dicus has seen the dark, lithe shadows dart beneath the water -- the glistening gray fins split the waves.
He was once even bumped by a shark, he said. But Saturday was different. Dicus tussled in the water with what experts say was most likely an 8-foot-long hungry bull shark hellbent on snatching a dying 14-year-old girl from the surface.
''The shark kept coming back around,'' said Dicus, 54, who punched the shark on its snout as it circled the girl in bloody water.
A day after the horrific attack near Destin, a still-shaken Dicus said he had a sleepless night. ''I've never been so scared in my life,'' he said. ``It was like the movie Jaws, except I was in it.''
Jamie Marie Daigle, of Gonzales, La. did not survive the attack by the shark as she was boogie boarding with her best friend about 250 yards offshore.
It was around 11:15 a.m., the beach full of tourists and locals. Dicus was surfing. He said he suddenly heard screaming and saw a girl swimming frantically to the shore. When he reached Jaime, she was bobbing face down. One of her legs had been cleaved to the bone from knee to thigh, he said. He saw the pool of blood in the water.
The shark made another snap at her hand, but missed because Dicus pulled it out of reach.
He hoisted the unconscious girl onto his surfboard. All the while, the shark continued to try to get to her, Dicas said. He circled the surfboard. Dicas said he struck the shark hard with his fist once. It did little to discourage the animal.
Dicas finally towed her to a sandbar where two other men were ready with another board and a raft to paddle the girl back to shore.
Using himself as live bait, Dicus said, ``I swam away from them and started slapping the water and kicking to distract the shark.''
Once ashore, paramedics tried to revive the teen, but she had likely lost too much blood.
George Burgess, a researcher at the University of Florida, who investigates shark attacks worldwide, was at the scene and called the attack ''unusual'' for Florida water, mainly because of the shark's aggression.
''This was not a normal Florida attack,'' Burgess said. ''Usually a shark will make a mistake, thinking it's a fish,'' Burgess said. ``In this instance, the shark apparently very knowingly went after a large prey item and persistently tried to follow through on its normal feeding behavior, which would be to come back and attack again and again.''
It was the third unprovoked fatality this year, he said.
On Sunday, a bloody spot in the sand marked where paramedics worked on Jamie, who had come to the vacation spot with her best friends' parents.
Back in her hometown of Gonzales, a suburb of Baton Rouge, parishioners of St. Theresa of Avila Catholic Church mourned the teen's death, calling her ''very beautiful and popular.'' Pastor Gary Belsome, who is also a friend of the Daigle family, said they were dealing with the grief as best as they could.
''At all of the masses yesterday and today, we informed the community about the death and asked them for prayers,'' Belsome said.
Jaime, an accomplished student who was a day camp counselor at the church, was preparing to start high school in August at the prestigious St. Joseph's Academy, an all-girl Catholic school in Baton Rouge.
Last week, she finished a computer prep course with her best friend, who was also admitted to St. Joseph's in the fall.
Jaime had gone with her friend's family on an RV trip to Florida for the weekend. The girls had likely known each other since kindergarten, Belsome said.
Belsome, who spent time with the family Sunday, said that despite the tragedy, the family took solace in that she died while having fun with a good friend.
The Walton County coroner's office will conduct an autopsy today to officially determine the size and species of the shark involved Saturday, believed to be a bull shark.
On Sunday, the 20-mile stretch of beach that officials had closed after the attack had been opened.
''It was business as usual, or almost as usual,'' said Capt. Danny Glidewell, who said the incident was the first of its kind in Walton County.
He said there had been no sightings by midday Sunday. His department had doubled the number of life guards on patrol. A boat was out scanning the water for the predatory fish. Helicopters were also deployed to scour the waters for sharks. Dicus said he had gotten a phone call from Jamie's father thanking him for going out to get her.
``They said they wouldn't have been able to have a normal funeral, if I hadn't gone out there. The shark would have taken her under for good.''
Good for that guy.
Since this is America . . . when is his book coming out?
We've been on the beach when the lifeguards tell people to get out because there's a shark, and some people just ignore them. Not me!!!
This is such a sad story. I realize the odds are very small of getting bitten much less killed by a shark, but what an awful way to go.
I pray for her family.
He had a lot of courage to hit the shark, especially from a surfboard.
Brave guy. Too bad the girl had lost too much blood to be saved.
Something in the water bigger than me??? Time to get out.
This sad incident happened here over the weekend. JAWS II was filmed here in the late 70's or early 80's............
You here the word "hero" thrown around all too often these days - and often inappropriately. But in my book the guy who tried to rescue her rightfully deserves that title.
Exactly how does one pronounce that?
You're right, he was a real hero. He admitted he was afraid. That is what bravery is. You are afraid, but you do what needs to be done anyway.
Mr. Dicus is a hero in my book. God bless him for his efforts.
On foxnews this morning (with him right there) they pronounced it with a long I sound....
They say this every time, don't they?
How many provoked fatalities were there?
A 54 year old surfer? I can just picture that guy, still in the "dude" phase of life.. but ya know what? He is a HERO in my eyes, and deserves alot of credit.
Very sad story. Mr. Dicas is a hero.
250 yards is a pretty long way out there, isn't it?
The fattie in Orange looking at the shark reminds me of Teddy Kennedy. I can see Ted standing there, thinking "if only a shark had been at Chappaquiddick, I coulda had the Presidency."
You are right about listeneing to people who know danger when they see it. It's another good reason to not go out more than toe deep in the ocean!
[...longtime surfer Tim Dicus...]
His older brother, Biggus was in the Monty Python movie "The Life of Brian".
Excellent points.I would surmize from the brief description of the wound to her leg, that the shark punctured the femoral artery, and she tragically bled out.
I guess it is time for the annual freak out about sharks media event.
ANOTHER shark attack in Florida, on Fox news NOW.
Not that it makes any difference but she was a cute kid.
What is the age when someone who loves to surf must hang it up????
Teenage boy attacked this time. Beaches shut down.
Now--this has been all over the news. How much more 'education' do people need?
There are SHARKS THAT WILL EAT YOU in the waters off the coast of Florida RIGHT NOW. Gulf and Atlantic coasts!
Splash in the surf- DO NOT GO SWIMMING!
I mean-OY! Would anyone jump into a river where alligators were killing people? What is this? Play the odds in the ocean time?
ANYONE, and I mean ANYONE who is attacked by a shark AFTER these stories have been everywhere, dies because of STUPIDITY.
Never has been a shark attack in the hotel pools.
Gonzales Community Remembers Jamie
She is being remembered as a bright, athletic young woman, whose loving spirit touched the lives of many in the community of Gonzales. Sunday evening, that tight-knit community remembers 14-year-old Jamie Daigle, the Gonzales honors student killed in a shark attack in San Destin, Florida on Saturday.
Daigle was on the minds of what many consider is her second family, her fellow church members at the St. Theresa of Avila Church where reaction ranged from shocked to grief.
Friends say the Daigle family considered their church a second family, and it is with the help of this close community and their faith that those who knew the bright honors student are making it through such a trying time.
A somber quiet mood hung over mass at St. Theresa of Avila Church in Gonzales Sunday morning. Shocked looks and despair showed on the faces of parishioners as close friends of 14- year-old Jamie Daigle remember a young vivacious woman whose life was suddenly cut too short.
"It's just hard to put into words what you're feeling at this time," says Alice Labat.
"Just shocking," says Jarrett Marchand, "because I grew up with her brother and I know her parents and I've always been around and it's just shocking to see that happened."
What happened is something that this tight community of Gonzales is still trying to make sense of. On Saturday, 14-year-old Jamie Daigle was killed after a shark attacked her and her friend in the waters along San Destin Beach in Florida. The young girl was on vacation with her friend's family when tragedy struck.
Jarrett Marchand grew up in Gonzales with Jamie and her older brother. He remembers a young woman whose spirit was infectious and whose loving nature has still left its mark.
"She was a really sweet girl, really good looking," says Marchand, "everybody loved her, no one had problems with her, just a really nice little girl."
Only two weeks ago, Daigle graduated from the eighth grade at St. Theresa of Avila School. A former classmate says Jamie put a lot of time and passion into the church community.
"It's impossible to imagine this happened," says Jordan Robert. "She was only 14-years-old. And when you hear it on the news and to know that it was somebody you knew and that you saw everyday at school, it's hard to imagine. It hasn't really hit me yet."
But it's clear that even as Jamie's friends grieve, their thoughts right now are turning to what they can do to help support Jamie's parents and brother.
"All I can say for the parents is to pray," says Alice Labat, "to know that God is with them, that he needed another flower in his bouquet and that he picked her."
Daigle was set to attend St. Joseph Academy this fall. The former cheerleader was also an aide at the church camp. Monday, counselors will be at the church to help Jamie's classmates and fellow church members through their grieving process.
per John Wayne - paraphrasing here - "Courage is being afraid and saddling up anyway"
Sometimes I do wonder why these sweet innocents seem to be the victims so often.
The surf zone belongs to man we need to start enforcing the no-sharks zone.
The Bull Shark is probably responsible for more attacks than any other species. It hunts in the surf zone where it 'feels' for it's food in the turbid water. That's were human bathers can be found.
It tends to hit fast & hard and can snap a leg like a matchstick. If that isn't 'aggressive' I don't know what is.
Congressman Dana Rohrbacher, representing Huntington Beach California is a 50+ surfer.
Many of them, around these parts.
Charlie Bull sharks don't surf!
What a brave man.
May God bless him for his courage and bravery.
Was THAT the shark that did this to the girl?