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Mexico hunts for sharks after fatal attack

/ Source: The Associated Press

Authorities used baited hooks to catch sharks Wednesday near a Mexican beach where a U.S. surfer was killed in an attack.

The 24-year-old Adrian Ruiz of San Francisco bled to death after being bitten on the thigh Monday while surfing off Troncones beach west of Acapulco.

Mexico's Navy and maritime authorities said they have strung about 200 yards of lines with baited hooks near the beach in an attempt to catch sharks that may be using the area as a feeding ground.

Emergency personnel are warning beach-goers about sharks' presence near the largely undeveloped oceanfront, said local civil defense Director Jaime Vazquez.

It is not clear what species was involved in Monday's attack, but Navy Cdr. Arturo Bernal said that helicopter overflights had sighted two great white sharks nearby.

"We hope to catch any sharks that there are in the area," Bernal said, noting it was the only way to prevent further attacks. None have been caught so far.

"We may catch sharks which were not involved in the attack, but there is no way to know," Bernal said. "Fishermen are telling us that the sharks are very aggressive at the moment."

Environmentalists like Enrique Rodriguez Krebs, who heads the group SOS Bahia in the nearby resort of Zihuatanejo, opposes the hunt.

"There is going to be an indiscriminate slaughter of marine species with these hook lines," Rodriguez Krebs said.

According to Bernal, there are few sharks in the area, so the baited hooks won't have a significant effect on the larger shark population.

In San Francisco, friends remembered Ruiz, who worked as a bartender, as a dedicated surfer and fun-loving co-worker who was quick to crack a joke.

"He was always coming in to work after a surf session," said Chris Morin, 38, a fellow bartender. "Everybody's in shock here."