Tort Law

Lawyer Dies in Miami After Shark Attack

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A lawyer from Austria died Sunday in Miami after being attacked by a shark in waters off of the Bahamas and flown to a local hospital by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Markus Groh, 49, was on a diving trip to see sharks, traveling on a 70-foot boat registered to Jim Abernethy’s Scuba Adventures Riviera Beach, reports the Miami Herald. Contrary to the advice of the Bahamas Diving Association, of which Scuba Adventures isn’t a member, the group was diving without using a protective cage.

”I’ve personally pleaded with Jimmy to stop this action, but he refused to comply with good judgment,” Neal Watson, the association’s president, told the newspaper. “He would not use a cage, and this is the result.”

Abernethy says he feels terrible about the attack, reports the Sun-Sentinel.

Although there have been several dozen prior injuries, Groh’s death may be the first fatal attack attributable to the practice of feeding or “chumming” sharks in order to bring them close enough to give divers a good look, George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File, tells the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., newspaper.

“For the same reason on land, you don’t feed alligators, you don’t feed raccoons, you don’t feed bears,” says Burgess. “It’s changing the behavior of sharks. … They lose their natural caution around human beings.”

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