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The Inertia

The scene on Piedade beach near Recife, on Brazil’s northeast coast, was chaotic. In video posted online, Jose Ernestor da Silva can be seen being rescued by lifeguards, pulled through the shorebreak to land where his leg and groin area are grotesquely laid open, reportedly by the teeth of a tiger shark.

da Silva apparently had two separate heart attacks due to the trauma. Doctors amputated his leg and penis in an effort to save him. Rodrigo Matias, who spoke on behalf of Recife’s fire department, told local media that lifeguards were trying to get swimmers, including the 18-year-old da Silva, to move closer to shore. “At the exact moment in which the lifeguards asked for them to come closer to the beach, he was bitten,” he said.

Lifeguards were already on high alert in the area. This is the second time a shark has attacked on the same stretch of sand this year. In April, a 35-year-old tourist lost a leg and hand in an attack.


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