- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 4, 2001

VIRGINIA BEACH — People were talking about the shark attack that killed a 10-year-old boy on Sunday, but they weren't put off enough to cancel hotel reservations and stay away from the beach yesterday as authorities patrolled the waters for signs of danger.
A shark was spotted 200 yards off a military beach closed to the public. Marine scientists did not think it was the shark that attacked David Peltier of Richmond on Saturday evening, ripping a 17-inch gash in his left leg and releasing him from its jaws only after the boy's father hit the shark in the eye.
David died early Sunday. State medical examiner Dr. Leah Bush ruled yesterday that the boy bled to death as the result of a torn femural artery, police said.
"It's very sad, but there's no reason to be afraid," Chaya Brod, of Silver Spring, said as she walked along the beach, getting her toes wet, while her husband and three of her children played in the surf at the city's busy oceanfront resort strip. "I understand you have to be out deep in the water in order to be attacked. It doesn't bother me."
Many hotels were sold out, including the Comfort Inn, where owner Addison Richardson said no guests checked out early or expressed fear after learning of the attack.
"I'm not too sure if it had any effect" on business, Mr. Richardson said. "The city did all it could to protect people. That's about all we can ask."
In terms of business, good weather and special events — including a music festival and a half marathon — combined to make this one of the city's best Labor Day weekends, although final economic figures weren't available, said James B. Ricketts, director of the city's Department of Convention and Visitor Development.
However, the weekend was marred by sadness over the tragedy — the first shark attack in the area in about 30 years and the first fatal one in the United States this year.
The attack occurred in 4 feet of water about 50 yards from the shore off Sandbridge Beach, several miles south of the resort strip. David was on a sandbar, a half mile from a fishing pier, said Ed Brazle, division chief for the city's Emergency Medical Services.
David's father, Richard Peltier of Virginia Beach, was surfing when he spotted the shark and shouted to his three sons who were in the water. Mr. Peltier hauled David onto his surfboard as the two older boys ran to shore, witnesses said.
Mr. Peltier hit the shark on the head, tried to pry open its jaws, then hit it in the eye, witnesses said. The father was treated for a hand injury.
Richard Peltier continued to decline interview requests, police spokesman Mike Carey said.
Forty-nine shark attacks have occurred worldwide this year, including 28 in Florida, according to the International Shark Attack File in Gainesville, Fla. Last year, 84 shark attacks were reported worldwide, 53 in the United States.


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