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Beach Reopens After Shark Attack

June 11, 2000

GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) _ One of the Gulf Coast’s most popular beaches reopened to swimmers Saturday, a day after Alabama’s first confirmed shark attack in 25 years.

``The beach is packed, but there’s not many people in the water,″ said Kasie Moore, a bartender at the Pink Pony Pub near where the attack occurred. ``They are all asking about it.″

The attack early Friday prompted officials to close a 30-mile stretch of land at the height of tourist season.

Chuck Anderson, 44, a high school coach and vice principal, lost his right arm above the elbow. And Richard Watley, a 55-year-old Gulf Shores barber, was bitten on his right hip and right arm. They were among a group training for a triathlon when the shark attacked.

Both men were in stable condition Saturday, according to a spokeswoman for South Baldwin Regional Medical Center in Foley.

Anderson’s wife, Betsy Anderson, said her husband initially felt something underneath him.

``He thought it was a log or something,″ she said. ``The next thing he remembered was the shark took his right hand. The only way he’s alive is he pulled his arm out of the shark’s mouth.″

It wasn’t immediately known what kind of shark attacked the men.

Biologists planned to make periodic flights over the beach looking for sharks and large schools of fish throughout the weekend, said Vernon Minton, director of the marine resources division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

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