A man swimming nude at a clothing optional South Florida beach was bitten by a shark Sunday in a rare attack off the coast of Miami-Dade County.
According to the Miami Herald, Elvin Lanza, 44, was bitten in both legs by the shark as he swam off Haulover Beach. He was taken to Aventura Hospital for surgery and is expected to recover.
The International Shark Attack File has recorded only 15 bites along Miami-Dade beaches in records dating to 1882.
That’s compared to 70 in Palm Beach County during the same time period.
George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Natural Museum of History, said a lifeguard following the shark on a personal watercraft may have provoked the animal.
But the lack of clothing likely had no impact.
“Sharks can see contrast well and are attracted to it — contrast like those between the sun-kissed and paler parts of a person’s body, which is why experts recommend wearing more neutral-colored bathing suits to reduce the chances of being attacked,” the Miami Herald reported. “But sharks are also attracted to flash and splashes, and Lanza, who was swimming nude, was bitten in the lower legs as he tried to swim to shore.”
A clothing optional section of Haulover Beach has been open since 1991.