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Sharks kill man at Florida beach

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Shark kills kite boarder
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sharks attack, kill a 38-year-old man near Stuart Beach in southern Florida
  • Lifeguard spotted him struggling in the water and large number of sharks
  • Man was in cardiac arrest by the time the lifeguard helped him ashore
  • Florida leads U.S. in number of shark attacks; worldwide, attacks on decline
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(CNN) -- Sharks attacked and killed a 38-year-old man near Stuart Beach in southern Florida on Wednesday.

The man was kite-surfing before the attack, said Capt. Mike McKinley, a spokesman for Martin County Sheriff's Department.

A lifeguard spotted him struggling in the water and large number of sharks in the area, a rescue official said. The man had been bitten several times and was bleeding profusely.

CNN affiliate WPBF identified him as Stephen Howard Schafer of Stuart.

Local coverage from CNN affiliate WPBF

The man was in cardiac arrest by the time the lifeguard helped him ashore. He was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

Shark attacks have been on the decline, according to the International Shark Attack File, which is part of the Florida Museum of Natural History.

In 2008, there were 59 attacks worldwide, fewer than the 71 attacks 2007. That continues an annual decline since the all-time high of 79 in 2000.

Forty-one of the 59 attacks worldwide occurred in the United States, with Florida leading with 32.

Surfers accounted for 57 percent of shark attack victims; swimmers and waders, 36 percent, and divers the rest, according to the Shark Attack File.

CNN's Eve Bower contributed to this report.

 
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