Kiteboarder fatally wounded in shark attack

An 8- or 9-foot shark that fatally bit a kiteboard surfer on Wednesday probably was trying to kill and eat the man, a leading shark expert said Friday.

''This was the real thing," said George Burgess, keeper of the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File. "This was a bigger shark apparently seeing a human as an appropriately sized item worth pursuing."

Stephen Schafer, 38, was floating in an unguarded stretch of ocean about 4:15 p.m. when at least one large shark, probably a bull shark or a tiger shark, attacked and mortally wounded him, according to Burgess and autopsy results.

The Stuart man died of blood loss despite a Martin County lifeguard's efforts to save him, said Dr. Linda O'Neil, who examined Schafer's body Thursday night.

O'Neil said Schafer was bitten twice, once on the buttocks and once on the right thigh. She said the bites, which were 9 to 10 inches in diameter, likely came from the same shark.

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