Shark Victim's Family Won't Stay Away From the Beach

The San Diego Coast Guard continues its search for a killer shark.

ByABC News via logo
February 11, 2009, 7:08 PM

April 28, 2008 — -- The family of a man who died Friday after a great white shark attack in waters off a San Diego beach said the tragedy would not squelch its love for the sea.

"I went surfing out there yesterday," said Jeff Martin, the son of retired veterinarian Dave Martin who died on Tide Beach Friday morning after a shark nearly severed his leg. "And I plan to take my boys out tomorrow if it's open."

"He died doing what he liked, surrounded by friends, in a place he loved. As a Christian family we believe our dad is in heaven," he added.

California officials are continuing their search for the shark they believe attacked the 66-year-old Martin as he swam with a group of nine triathletes. But so far they have found no signs of it.

The San Diego-based U.S. Coast Guard continued patrolling the beaches north of the city, and this weekend the Coast Guard added more flights to watch out for sharks.

Normally, they see a lot of seals, dolphins and occasionally whales -- sharks are rare.

"I have seen probably two in my three years flying here," said U.S. Coast Guard pilot Lt. Jeremy Denning.

If the pilots see a shark, they can report it to lifeguards on shore, who can then clear the water.

"With the weather getting warmer, a lot of people are coming out and they are definitely trying to get the word out to everybody to be safe," Denning said.

Authorities now are convinced the shark that attacked Martin was a 15- to 16-foot great white because of the marks it left on Martin's legs.

"All sharks just as humans have finger prints. In a sense, the fingerprints of sharks are their teeth," said shark researcher Ralph Collier.

California authorities closed 17 miles of San Diego County beach during the weekend as they searched for the shark.

Martin was attacked around 7 a.m., according to the Associated Press. At the time, Martin was swimming with a group that included nine triathletes from the Triathlon Club of San Diego, according to a statement on the Solana Beach city Web site.