Diver's 'head and shoulders ripped off' by great white shark in first fatal shark attack of 2023

27 January 2023, 20:45 | Updated: 28 January 2023, 16:28

The shark attack took place in Mexico
The shark attack took place in Mexico. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

A diver has been killed by a great white shark that tore off his head and shoulders.

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The gruesome incident took place in Mexico on January 5 this year, the first fatal shark attack of 2023.

Diver Manuel Lopez was swimming in Bahia de Tobari when the six-metre-long shark pounced.

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A local man Jose Bernal said: “He was diving when the animal attacked him, impressively ripping off his head and biting both shoulders.

“Local divers had been warned about the presence of sharks in the area and most had not been out for several days.”

A great white shark
A great white shark. Picture: Getty

Mr Lopez, who was diving for scallops, had apparently ignored these warnings as he needed the money from his catch.

Analysts at Tracking Sharks, which recorded the attack, said: “Great white sharks are most prevalent in the Gulf of California (where the attack happened) during December and January when pregnant female sharks enter the area.

"The sharks will often search for fat-filled sea lions to feed upon due to their high caloric count.

“Several anglers have stated that they have inadvertently caught sea lions in their fishing nets, and in several cases when they have a sea lion, great white sharks will often approach their boats as they are pulling in their nets.”

A great white shark swimming through the ocean near Australia
A great white shark swimming through the ocean near Australia. Picture: Getty

The Florida Museum of Natural History, which tracks shark attacks worldwide, recorded 137 attacks in 2021, the most recent year for which figures are available.

Of those, 73 were unprovoked shark bites and 39 were provoked bites.