[Coral-List] Dr. Thomas Goreau seriously injured by barracuda, sending wishes for speedy recovery

Les Kaufman lesk at bu.edu
Tue Aug 24 16:50:52 EDT 2004

Dear Colleagues,

We are grieved to report that our friend and colleague Dr. Tom Goreau
was badly injured by a barracuda earlier this month.  He sent out an
account of his incident to some of his friends, a portion of which is
pasted in here:

"On August 6th 2004 while snorkelling in Cozumel, Mexico, I was suddenly
attacked by a large Barracuda, which ate one finger and part of my hand
and left bite wounds on several
other fingers. The barracuda attacked without any provocation or cause,
in clear water from around 25 feet depth, and the entire attack was
witnessed at close range by my 13 year old
daughter, Marina.

"I was evacuated by the Diver's Action Network (DAN) to Miami, where
emergency operations were done to close the wound, graft severed
nerves,  and reconstruct my hand. I face
long therapy to recover use of the hand and unfortunately will have be
out of the water for a while. I was "lucky" in that I was one inch away
from losing most fingers on the hand,
two inches from losing the entire hand, and one foot  away from being
permanently silenced.  I'd like to thank all  the Cozumel divers, DAN,
and the doctors in Mexico and the US 
for taking prompt action to save what was left, and all the family and 
friends who called or visited, and those who would have had they known.

"I have swum with barracudas without any fear since I was a small child
50 years ago, and I had never ever seen any aggressive behavior to
people. Although Cozumel is the number
one dive destination in the world, such attacks are previously unknown
there. Until this happened to me I had said that there were virtually NO
clear cases of barracuda attacks without
an obvious triggering factor. But not any more. Barracuda attacks are
extremelyrare, and there appear to be only around 20 recorded cases in
the last few centuries worldwide, most
flesh wounds rather than amputations, and many of them questionable."

Please join us in wishing Tom a speedy recovery and a short forced stay
on land.  If there is a lesson in this perhaps it is that it never hurts
to be extra cautious around long knives and sharp teeth, even when they
are attached to usually innoffensive creatures.

Tom's contacts are:

       Dr. Thomas J. Goreau
       Global Coral Reef Alliance
       37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA
       telephone:  617-864-4226, 617-864-0433  
       E-mail: goreau at bestweb.net
       Web site:      http://www.globalcoral.org

Les Kaufman
Judy Lang

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