Experts confirm great white shark attack last week

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August 7, 2012, 9:54 pm
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(NECN: Josh Brogadir, Truro, Mass.) - These are changing times in Truro, Mass.: The seal population is very high, and the town thinks it may be time to put lifeguards at Ballston Beach.

There are four oceanside beaches in Truro, and only two of them are currently staffed with lifeguards.

It may seem like you have it all at Ballston Beach in Truro - sand, surf, a setting sun - the end of a great summer day.

But what's not here, has actually been gone for 28 years.

Lifeguard chairs and the guards that sit in them were removed from this ocean side beach during budget cuts in 1984.

"People weren't so concerned about guards on the ocean side until the shark attack a week ago," said town administrator Rex Peterson.

Chris Myers was swimming with his son far from shore last Monday.

One week later, the state determined what we expected based on shark expert Greg Skomal's examination at Massachusetts General Hospital - that it was the work of a Great White.

A packed board of selectmen meeting, and the talk is about staffing all four of the oceanside beaches instead of just two.

But there's a need for eight guards at a cost of $8,000 each for the summer, plus equipment.

Enough money is raised with summer parking fees to cover it says Jani Christensen, Truro's head lifeguard, who thinks it's something the town should explore.

"Unfortunately sharks don't always cruise at the surface, so we can't predict when they might spike up and get someone. But I also think that we're first responders, that we can call for rescue," Christensen said.

Back at Ballston, swimmers and surfers know they go in the water at their own risk, at least for now.

"I think it would be a great idea to have lifeguards. The ocean is always a bit unpredictable, currents, and possibly if there was (a guard) here, they could have sighted it, seen some kind of a fin and gotten everybody out of the water," said Lisa Cavanaugh, of Hoboken, N.J., as she vacationed with her family.

There was no town vote Tuesday evening on this.

Peterson said it's too late this year to find guards who are Red Cross and ocean rescue certified, adding that most are also college kids and need to go back to school, so they'll discuss the plan for next summer.

Tags: massachusetts, Cape Cod, Josh Brogadir, Truro, Great White Shark, shark, lifeguards, Ballston Beach
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