Alcatraz is a peculiar place. Once a civil war fort, a military prison, and one of the most notorious federal penitentiaries in US history, Alcatraz now hosts roughly one million tourists to the island each year. For this particular group of sightseers, it wasn’t Al Capone, George “Machine-Gun” Kelly, or even Alvin Karpis who left a lasting impression. It was a large, hungry great white that made their tour an unforgettable visit.
The video, taken by a security camera aboard a ship owned by Alcatraz Cruises, shows the shark breaching the surface and then devouring its prey. A large pool of blood can be seen following the attack, and the shark returns to the surface several times to eat the remaining chunks of flesh. This is the first time a great white shark has been observed attacking and killing another creature in San Francisco Bay, just off Alcatraz.
David McGuire, director of the San Francisco–based shark conservation group Shark Stewards and research associate at the California Academy of Sciences told Newsweek, “This is highly unusual in the San Francisco Bay and is the first known witnessed predation [there].”
There are no recorded shark-human incidents in the bay, and McGuire says the risk of drowning while swimming in this area is one in 1,100, while dying from a shark attack is one in 3.75 million.
“Speaking from the perspective of a surfer and routine swimmer in open water, my risk is highest, but I don’t feel it is dangerous and will be swimming from Alcatraz [tomorrow] for fun,” he said. “The shark in question is likely gone.”
Aside from the fact that this was the first time a great white shark has been observed attacking and killing another creature in San Francisco Bay, what’s particularly fascinating about the incident is how close it occurred to the dock. Better yet, it provided a firsthand look at a great white’s feeding habits in its natural environment. It’s truly amazing!
Here’s another angle of the attack with some classic commentary.