Top 5: Deadliest Shark Attacks in the World

by Holly Riddle

Mar 1, 2016

© Sergey Uryadnikov | Dreamstime

Top 5 / Other

Though the chances of being the victim of a shark attack are slim, it’s still a thought that has gone through everyone’s mind at one point or another. Not for the squeamish, here are the five worst shark attacks in history.


USS Indianapolis

The USS Indianapolis transported the first operational atomic bomb in 1945. After departing Guam, Japanese torpedoes hit the ship and it began to sink. Almost 900 made it out alive, but a far worse fate met them in the water. The shark attacks lasted for five days, killing and devouring about two-thirds of the men before they were picked up by the USS Cecil Doyle.


The Cape San Juan

This, however, was not the first instance of a Japanese torpedo being the initial cause of a traumatic shark attack. In 1943, the Cape San Juan was a troop transport ship sailing from San Francisco to Australia, when it was attacked, immediately killing 130 of the 1,438 people onboard. A total of 695 individuals were attacked and killed by oceanic white tip sharks.


New Jersey, 1916

During a 12-day period in the summer of 1916, four individuals were killed on the Jersey Shore. While it may not seem like much compared to the tragedies listed above, it was a shocking and unheard of event at the time, and one that affected the most unsuspecting of victims. Two of the fatal attacks occurred in Matawan Creek, where human-shark interaction was entirely unheard of.


Hawai’i, 1952–1953

The winter and spring in Hawai’i during this time were a particularly deadly time period for the beaches of Maui and Oahu. Five men were killed by tiger sharks, three while fishing and one while canoeing. There were no witnesses for several, as the victims disappeared, only to be later found mutilated.


Java, Indonesia, 1945

A group of 90 European tourists were taking a ride on a Japanese submarine deck. When it was some distance from shore, the submarine dived, leaving the tourists exposed and in the water. All were either drowned or eaten by the sharks known to swarm the area to feed at that particular time of day. The submarine commanders were never charged for the incident, which was conveniently swept under the rug.



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