- The Washington Times - Monday, September 3, 2001

Virginia Beach opened to holiday crowds yesterday morning with helicopters flying overhead just hours after a 10-year-old boy died from wounds he suffered during a shark attack Saturday evening.
David Peltier, of Richmond, died at 3:45 a.m. yesterday of what researchers believe is the first fatal shark attack in the state's history. His death comes on the heels of shark attacks off other parts of the country's shorelines.
The International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida said only one death from a shark attack, in Brazil, had been reported so far this year, compared with an average of eight per year in recent years.
As of last week, 48 attacks had been reported worldwide, with 37 reported in the United States and 28 of those in Florida. That compares with 84 recorded worldwide last year, including 53 in the United States and 37 of those in Florida.
George Burgess, director of the Shark Attack File, said the attack is remarkably similar to the attack on Jessie Arbogast, an 8-year-old boy whose arm was severed in July on Florida's Gulf Coast. That boy's father wrestled the shark ashore. The arm was reattached, but Jessie remains in a light coma.
David's father, Richard Peltier, who was nearby on a surfboard, also fought off the 4- to 6-foot shark that had seized his son's left leg. At first he tried to pry open its jaws. When that didn't work, he beat on the shark's eyes with his fists. The shark, most likely a sandbar shark, released young David, but not before its sharp teeth raked open an artery in his left thigh.
Mr. Peltier, a welder, brought his boy to shore where David's two brothers watched, weeping, as lifeguards administered first aid, witnesses said.
Mr. Peltier's brother, James, said he was not surprised with his brother's actions: "He's very strong," James Peltier told the Virginian-Pilot. "He always has his head about him in emergencies."

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