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diver dies in freak attack

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Dairyland diver
Apr 7, 2001
I just found this on the BBC news site. I thought those things were suppossed to be cuddly and nice?

Antarctic scientist dies in seal attack
A British scientist has died in the Antarctic after being attacked by a leopard seal.

Kirsty Brown was snorkelling in waters close to the Rothera Research Station as part of her studies when the animal approached her and pulled her under.
Colleagues who witnessed the attack immediately launched a rescue boat to try to save her.

And although they managed to retrieve her body and begin resuscitation, the 28-year-old marine biologist could not be revived.

Quick response

The Cambridge-based British Antarctic Survey (Bas), which runs Rothera, said everyone connected with the organisation was shocked by what had happened.

Bas director, Professor Chris Rapley, said: "This is tragic and shocking. My heart goes out to Kirsty's family and her colleagues at Rothera.
"Kirsty was a vibrant, dynamic individual, committed to her science and with a promising scientific career ahead of her.

"The Rothera team reacted in a highly efficient and professional manner of which we, and they, can be proud. They are, however, shaken by the loss of a colleague and will need our support."

Medical facilities

Leopard seals are often inquisitive when they encounter humans. However, they are not generally known to attack humans unless provoked.

Bas, which has launched an investigation into the incident, has been carrying out research involving snorkelling and diving for the last 30 years.

Ms Brown, whose parents live in West Sussex, was with her snorkelling "buddy" when the seal pulled her underwater.

Her research project involved looking at the impact of iceberg scouring on Antarctic near-shore marine animal communities. She was a qualified and experienced scientific diver.

Medical facilities at Rothera include a surgery with emergency facilities. There is a full-time doctor at the station to deal with general health care and emergencies.

Resuscitation efforts at the base were said to have lasted an hour.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2003/07/23 13:28:03 GMT

It is well known that leopard seals are the meanest seals in the world, by far. They are called the polar bears of the south.

I have long been wanting to freedive in antarctica, but I've always been wary due to the threat of leopard seals.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Aren't those things huge? I mean if I remember correctly, don't they get to something like 10 feet? Not exactly the cuddly stuffed animal you see at Sea World.

Leopard seals are scary!

Here is some info on Leopard seals I just looked up. These things don't look friendly at all

Here is a excerpt from Antartica Animals

"The infamous leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx), the main predator of Adelie penguins at sea. When they catch one, they play with it just like a cat with a mouse. You wouldn't want one to mistake you for a penguin (it's happened a few times to people standing on the shore !). They come to DdU mainly when the chicks go to the sea for the first time, still learning to swim. Penguins are extremely tough animals, though, I've seen several that survived such attacks with no feet or tails that successfully manage to raise chicks every year.

Their name comes from their spotted fur and also from their huge mouth and powerful jaws. Females are larger than males and may reach 4m and weight up to 450 kg. They are solitary predators and eat just about everything, from krill to other seals but particularly delect in Adelie penguins. They often attack penguins that are walking on broken floating ice by bursting through the ice; you can tell penguins are nervous when walking on broken ice by the speed they go ! And they don't stand near the shore. It's also something that has cause more than a few scares in my coleagues when they saw a leopard seal burst out of the water at their feet, probably thinking they were some kind of fat penguin. "

That is one scary seal!!

It's easy to let our genetic memories tell us that seals, dolphins, sea lions and even deer are friendly animals that can be approached. They all have physical traits in their faces that we instinctively react to. Big "doe eyes" and a "smile" on the dolphins help us to forget that wild animals are, well....wild.
Most of us freak out if there are bears, tigers or snakes around, mostly because there is cellular memory telling us that there is danger. Baby chimps born in captivity will instinctively run away from snakes, etc.
However, I've been in the water with Grey Whales and dolphins too, and would do it again :)
Erik Y.
it's very unfortunate, but as erik eluded to, we often forget that wild animals are not the cute cuddly critters we sometimes portray them to be. it's a good reminder that nature is to be respected.

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Reactions: zipy
Something started me wondering a couple of months ago if a leopard seal would take a diver. Their size and the fact that they hunt other seals would make them capable. I guess that's my answer. I wonder if the seal fed off her, or if it was just a territorial issue.

Not that I have any plans of going to Antarica for anything, BRRRRR.
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