Officials Say Bodyboarder Was Killed By Shark, Suffered Several Bites To Head And Chest

(Photo Credit: Reuters)

Bryan Babb Contributor
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Official reports say a California bodyboarder was mauled by a shark on Dec. 24, 2021, suffering bites to the head, chest and shoulder, and died moments after the attack.

Tomas Abraham Butterfield, 42, was bodyboarding on Christmas Eve north of Morro Rock in California when a great white shark attacked him, the Associated Press reported. A coroner’s report stated that Butterfield died from “complications of multiple penetrating blunt force traumatic injuries,” according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

The report from San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s Det. William Miller, stated that there were “three different primary bite zones” on Butterfield’s right shoulder, chest and head, according to the Tribune. “The wound to his thoracic cavity appeared to be in at least two distinct arcs, indicating the shark likely re-set his purchase on the decedent,” Miller wrote, the outlet reported. (Swimmer Dies From Shark Attack, First Fatal Attack In Sydney In Almost 60 Years)

Pathologist Dr. Joye Carter, who performed the autopsy on Butterfield in coordination with Miller, discovered “what appeared to be a shark’s tooth contained between the decedent and his wetsuit in the area of his back,” according to the Tribune. While one of the bite marks had a 16 inch radius, Miller noted that “this did not seem to be large enough” to match the “size and spacing” of other apparent teeth marks, the outlet reported.

A DNA sample obtained during Butterfield’s autopsy confirmed that the shark was a great white, Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Mike Harris said, according to the Tribune. The shark’s age and full size are not stated in Miller’s report, the outlet reported.