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Published On: Fri, May 10th, 2013

San Diego dead surfer identified as Brandon Beaver, but shark expert says man dead prior to attack

A shark expert from Scripps Oceanographic Institution said Thursday he believes a sevengill sharks fed on the body of Brandon Beaver, a surfer who died of unknown causes.

Brandon Beaver

Brandon Beaver

Andy Nosal examined pictures of Beaver’s body and determined that because the bite marks were relatively small they were likely feeding on the body.

Beaver, age 42, was reported missing by his fiancee Wednesday night after he did not return from surfing. The man’s surfboard was found separately with his wetsuit tied around it, a detail San Diego Lifeguard Lt. John Everhart found odd.

“I’ve been doing this 30 years almost and I’ve never seen someone do that,” Everhart said.  “It’s just a very strange decision to make when you’re out on the water.”

Sevengill sharks are plentiful in the kelp forest that stretched from La Jolla Cove to Pacific Beach, according to Nosal.

“A sevengill is not known to attack a human, especially one that’s alive, but they are known to scavenge and so if given the choice and they see an easy meal, they will go for that,” said Nosal.

Nosal said surfers should not be nervous about sevengill sharks.

“Thousands of scuba divers get in the water just to see these sevengill every year, without incident. They are big animals.  They’ve got big, powerful jaws.  They are potentially dangerous, but as long as you respect them, don’t try to touch them or grab them, no problem whatsoever,” Nosal said.

Sevengill sharks can be bold. They have been known to swim right up to scuba divers, even bump them, but show no other sign of aggression, according to Nosal.

Nosal believes he will know more about the kind of sharks involved if the Medical Examiner finds any teeth lodged in Beaver’s body.

The autopsy is scheduled for Friday.

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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