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Victim of Shark Attack Died ‘In a Place He Loved’

The victim of a fatal shark attack is remembered as a man who loved the water. 66-year-old Dave Martin was killed by what might have been a great white shark off the coast of Solana Beach.


Jeff Martin speaks to reporters after fatal shark attack
Jeff Martin of Solana Beach, surrounded by family and friends, speaks to reporters Sunday for the first time since his father Dave Martin was killed by a shark. (Andrew Phelps/KPBS News)

Martin was a retired veterinarian who trained for triathalons in his golden years. That's just what he was doing in the waters off Solana Beach last week, when a shark took his life with a single bite across both thighs.

Jeff Martin says his father always wore a broad smile and a sunburned nose. "He died doing what he liked,  surrounded by his friends, in a place he loved," Martin says of his father. "Even in our grief, this gives us an inner piece."

Martin says the death is particularly difficult because of where it happened. The Martin family has spent time in those waters since they moved to Solana Beach in 1970.

"We do all kinds of things in the water, and no one in their wildest dreams ever saw that happening," Jeff Martin says. "People asked me about sharks, and we just kind of laughed and said, you know, we're in Solana Beach! Doesn't happen here."

Jeff Martin says the attack doesn't change his family's relationship with the ocean. He plans to take his kids surfing this week, because that's what his dad would want.

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