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Great White Shark Attack Victim Was A Well Loved Crissy Field Kitefoiler

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  • Great White Shark Attack Victim Was A Well Loved Crissy Field Kitefoiler

    Felix competing in 2013 Kiteboarding contest at Crissy Field

    The news broke over the weekend about a shark attack in the Point Reyes National Seashore about a person missing after
    swimming in the waters off Wildcat Beach. An extensive search yielded no recovery of the victim and has since been called off.

    The victim is now identified as 52 year old Felix Louis N'jai, a well respected kitefoiler that came to the US from Gambia a few decades ago, and was intrigued by the new phenomenon that was evolving locally at Crissy Field. Equipped with a spontaneous smile and positive attitude, he quickly learned the sport on borrowed gear and became a beacon of light and the life of the party when at the beach or other

    The kiteboarding community has been rocked by the news and condolences are pouring with heartfelt messages such as:

    "Felix was the coolest happiest friendliest guy at the beach! We will miss you buddy. “See you in church”. “Life’s a Felix event!”

    "Shocking and horrible! I always loved Felix's saying: "See you in church!" Felix had many churches in Tahoe, Hood River and at Crissy Field. We will all miss you so much!"

    "RIP Felix. I could be having a crap day but seeing that smile on the beach, untangling his line, always friendly, would snap me out of it and make me realize how lucky we all are. Hard to process this. Miss you buddy."

    "I just can’t process this.. Felix was always such a fixture at Crissy, Hood River and Tahoe for us… all the work he’s been doing to represent Gambia in the Olympics, all the training. Such a tragedy and loss to the community "

    The site of the fatal encounter

    Felix creating the positive ambiance at the 2015 Kite Foil Gold Cup
    image : Rikki Robbie Racing

    Shark Attack: Search Suspended After Person Pulled Under at Point Reyes National Seashore, Reports Says:

    The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday suspended its search for a swimmer who was reportedly attacked by a shark and pulled under over the weekend in the waters off Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County.

    A search and rescue had been underway Sunday involving the Marin Fire Department, the National Park Service, the Marin County Sheriff's Office and the Coast Guard.

    The swimmer, whose name has not been released, was reported missing near a remote area called Wildcat Beach about 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

    "The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search in the frigid waters this morning, but a ground search is being conducted by first responders from the NPS, the Marin County Sheriff's Office and the Marin County Fire Department, and the Stinson Beach Fire Department," according to an advisory from the National Park Service.

    The search was initially conducted by land, water and air, officials said.

    A witness at the scene of the apparent attack told The Standard the victim had previously been celebrating a wedding and, afterward, had gone backpacking with a group of wedding guests when the incident occurred.

    Samantha Edell told The Standard about alerting emergency services to the attack when camping with her son on Sunday.

    "My son came up to me, and he said he heard some screaming," Edell, who lives in Castro Valley, said Monday. "We came out, and a group was gathered around that area where the water is, and they were looking for someone who could call emergency services because there's no cell service there."

    After Edell brought members of the group up to her campsite, they asked her if she could call emergency services. She did so using her Zoleo satellite communicator—a device that extends cell phone coverage and makes emergency calls.

    "They told me that their friend was out swimming, and he was attacked by a shark," Edell said. "I said, 'How bad is it?' They said he never came out of the water."

    After hitting the SOS button on her device, she followed a group down to the beach, where another man said he was already in contact with emergency services.

    "There was another man on the beach who had an iPhone that had satellite facilities. He was already in contact with emergency services, so I ended my SOS call," Edell said. "He said that they were on their way already and to go up to the top part of the campground and to wave them down when they got there."

    Edell said a woman in the group told her they had just attended a wedding and had gone backpacking together after the event.

    "I told her to keep an eye out for the rescue people, that they were on their way," Edell said. "It was a large party. People came in from all over, as far as Europe."

    She said it was the first time she had ever used her satellite device.

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2
    Thats a very sad bit of news.

    Condolences to all affected


    • #3

      S.F. man’s death in suspected shark attack leaves many questions unanswered. Here’s what we know

      Story by Tara Duggan, Clare Fonstein SFGATE

      San Franciscan Felix Louis N'Jai, 52, was with a group that had hiked to Wildcat Beach in Point Reyes National Seashore to celebrate a wedding, which friends said had occurred the day before. When he and two friends went into the water, witnesses reported around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday that a shark attacked him and pulled him under the water, according to the Coast Guard. He then disappeared without a trace.

      Authorities ended the search on Thursday, according to Christine Beekman, a spokesperson for the Point Reyes National Seashore. Without a body or any additional evidence, the incident remains unconfirmed as a shark attack.

      Below are questions and answers about the incident, based on Chronicle reporting that included interviews with two of N’Jai’s friends, and media reports.

      How far from shore was the victim?

      The swimmer was about 50 feet offshore before he was attacked, according to a dispatcher heard on Marin County Fire Department audio on Sunday morning, summarizing an emergency text message sent to authorities.

      Who was in the water with the victim?

      Two other people were swimming with N’Jai and made it out of the water, according to the dispatcher.

      It is unknown exactly what they saw in the water, as direct witnesses have been difficult to reach.

      Who called 911?

      Samatha Edell was near the beach on the day of the attack and contacted emergency services on a satellite communicator, the San Francisco Standard reported. The group that had been with N’Jai approached her asking for help. Edell said another man also contacted emergency services.
      Beekman said she did not believe Wildcat Beach gets cell reception.

      What do we know about the victim?

      N’Jai, 52, was a native of the Gambia, and moved to the U.S. when he enrolled in college. Devastated friends remember him as a warm person with a love of kite surfing.

      According to friends, N’Jai lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for about 20 years and worked at Eniac Labs, a technology incubator. In school, he had studied computer engineering and spent most of his career in entrepreneurship. He hoped to represent Gambia in kite-surfing next year when it is set to become an Olympic sport.

      Why didn’t searchers find his body?

      It’s possible that remains were taken away by ocean currents, said Chris Lowe, a professor and head of the shark lab at California State University Long Beach. Otherwise, it’s unclear. Sharks that bite humans typically abandon the attack when they realize it’s not their preferred prey, so in fatal incidents a body is almost always recovered, he said.

      “For me it has been surprising to hear that nothing has been recovered,” said Lowe. “It’s very odd, especially being relatively close to shore. For a body to completely disappear is very strange and rare.”

      Gabriel McKenna, public safety superintendent at the Santa Cruz District Public Safety Office, where he has worked for 20 years, also found the lack of a body unusual. There have been several shark incidents, including a fatal one, in the area in the past four to five years.

      “In the experience that I’ve seen in my tenure in the Santa Cruz district, that has not been the case for shark attacks,” he said of the Point Reyes case.

      If someone dies in the water, bodies tend to float, either right away if they’re wearing a wet suit or a few days later, Lowe said.

      Why has the shark attack not been confirmed?

      Authorities have not confirmed that a shark occurred. Lowe said it’s “really hard” to call something a confirmed bite if there is no evidence – no body, no pieces of a wet suit. Search conditions were good, he noted. Beekman of the National Park Service also said that it is difficult to confirm a shark attack without evidence.

      Though the official search for N’Jai ended, he was still considered a missing person as of Friday morning. Beekman said NPS was working with the coroner’s office to decide the next steps.

      Is it a popular beach?

      Wildcat Beach is a popular spot, but it’s remote and more difficult to access than most beaches in the national seashore. Getting there involves several miles of hiking, a trek that is rewarded with a 2.9-mile stretch of sand with stunning Alamere Falls at the southern end. Many who go there camp at the backpacking camp near the beach.

      Are sharks common on this beach?

      Yes. A large elephant seal colony on Point Reyes National Seashore attracts white sharks along its beaches. White sharks migrate back to the Bay Area from September to November to hunt young elephant seals that are coming back to shore this time of year, though they can be around all year.

      What rescue efforts were taken?

      The National Park Service, which is in charge of the seashore, said that search and rescue efforts involved the park service, Marin County and Stinson Beach fire departments, a medical helicopter and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and Cutter. The Coast Guard called off the search the day after the reported attack but other agencies continued.

      The final push to search for N’Jai was conducted Thursday with Main County Search and Rescue looking on the ground and a flyover from a Yosemite National Parks Service helicopter.

      Do sharks eat humans when they encounter them?

      Very, very rarely. They usually mistake humans for seals or sea lions, their preferred diet because of their high caloric content, and in most incidents they may bite a human accidentally and stop there.

      “Shark bites are really rare, and shark bites where sharks consume flesh is even more rare,” said Lowe. “Shark bites where people are completely consumed is even rarer yet.”

      Do sharks intentionally seek out humans to attack?

      No, according to shark experts. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife prefers to use the term “incidents” rather than “attacks” because most shark bites are “exploratory,” in which the shark mistakes a person for normal food or is “investigating an object in its environment.”

      White sharks are typically cautious rather than aggressive with people, unlike how they’re depicted in movies, said Paul Kanive of the California White Shark Project, who has studied sharks in the Bay Area for 16 years.

      “They’re not the evil monster that’s out there in the water waiting for you to get in,” he said. “They’re more just an important part of the ocean we need to learn to live with.”

      How many shark incidents have there been in California?

      There were 201 confirmed incidents between sharks and people from January 1950 to December 2021 in California, according to a 2022 study by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Of those, 15 were fatal and 107 caused injuries that didn’t result in death. In other words, there was one shark-caused death every 4 or 5 years and fewer than two injuries a year in the entire state.

      The statistics show how common it is for white sharks to be near swimmers, kayakers and surfers at California beaches. In a two-year study of Southern California beaches that analyzed drone footage, juvenile white sharks and humans were found to be in the water together 97% of the time. But no shark incidents were reported in the locations studied during that time.

      “Any time you go in the ocean off California there’s a good chance there’s a white shark nearby,” said Chris Lowe, a professor and head of the shark lab at California State University Long Beach who authored the study that was published this year. “But data tell us there’s a small chance of getting bitten. You have a better chance of winning Powerball.”
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