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CNN Larry King Live

How Big a Threat Are Sharks?

Aired August 13, 2001 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, sharks -- swift, scary and swimming off your local beach. Is it safe to go into the ocean? We're going to get an update on Jesse Arbogast, the 8-year-old shark attack victim who's just come home from the hospital and lucky to be alive.

Plus, heart-stopping stories from four shark attack survivors, including a woman who became prey when she was more than six months pregnant. Plus, insights from our good buddy, Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the San Diego Zoo, who's standing by at Sea World Shark Encounter. Naturalist Nigel Marven, host of "Wild, Wild Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel. He'll be swimming with sharks during this show. And the author of the "Great White Shark," Richard Ellis, one of the world's top marine artists. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

One of the most talked about topics this summer, the topic of sharks apparently gone crazy. Front cover of "Time" magazine last week discussing sharks as a major entity in this country. There you see it, "Summer of the Shark."

Before we meet our panel, want to check on the condition of Jesse Arbogast, who, as you may know, went home yesterday. He's the young man who lost his arm.

Joining us from Pensacola on the beach where all this happened is Dr. Ian Rogers, microvascular surgeon who reattached Jesse's arm, and J.R. Thomasovic, the chief ranger of the Gulf (UNINTELLIGIBLE) National Seashore. He was not there when this attack occurred.

Dr. Rogers, what's the current condition of Jesse?

DR. IAN ROGERS, REATTACHED SHARK ATTACK ARM: Jesse's been discharged from the hospital yesterday, Larry. At the time of discharge, as it was stated, he was in what was called a light coma. He was able to -- he was awake, but he was able to respond, you know, to stimuli such as voice and painful stimuli. He was certainly able to respond to some commands. As the day went on, he became a little more fatigued. His response was not as forthcoming. He certainly focused on people doing tasks around him all the time.

KING: What is his prognosis?

ROGERS: His prognosis is twofold. We're cautiously optimistic about his neurological recovery. His renal function and his gastrointestinal function which were also injured by virtue of the lack of blood flow, they have recovered. And we're keeping our fingers crossed that with time, his neurological function will return, also.

KING: But it was OK for him to go home?

ROGERS: It was.

KING: All right, doctor -- Mr. Thomasovic, chief ranger, how do you explain this?

J.R. THOMASOVIC, CHIEF RANGER, SHARK ATTACK SITE: Well, you know, I think Jesse had good karma that night, Larry. You know, his aunt and uncle really -- they knew CPR. They provided CPR to him right away. We had two rangers that were right on the scene. The medical helicopter was available. We got him to the hospital in a very expeditious manner.

The attack itself I think just sort of lends itself to the shark behavior. The attack was at 8:00 in the evening. Sharks are feeding at that time in the evening, and he just was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

KING: So what do you say now to vacationers there on that lovely beach in Pensacola?

THOMASOVIC: Well, what we tell visitors, anytime you go into Mother Nature's backyard, you got to be cognizant of your environment. And I think what this event has shown is that people are a little bit more aware of shark behavior. We encourage them to stay out of the water during the early morning hours and at dusk. We really encourage them to swim at lifeguarded beaches where the lifeguards are watching for shark activity, and just to take certain precautions while they're swimming in a marine environment.

KING: Thank God we've got a good report and a lucky young man. We thank you, Dr. Rogers and Mr. Thomasovic on the beach in Pensacola.

Let's meet our panel. Jack Hanna is at Sea World in San Diego, and Nigel Marven is at Six Flags in Marine World Vallejo. And Richard Ellis is at our studios in New York.

Jack, what do you make of this? Are sharks rebelling?

JACK HANNA, DIRECTOR EMERITUS, SAN DIEGO ZOO: Well, the thing, Larry, it's a myth about animals. A lot of animals don't have a chance even before they're born. For example, when "Jaws" came out, you had the shark, and of course, that wasn't that good for the shark. "Little Red Riding Hood" and the wolf. You can see the problems of the wolf today. "King Kong" and the gorilla. People think the gorilla is a very vicious animal, yet they're gentle giants. "Anaconda" with the snake.

So a lot of the movies, a lot of the books that come out really hurt the animal as far as what we think about the animal. These animals are just doing what is natural. Here at Sea World of San Diego, this magnificent tank back here of 300,000 gallons with many species of shark in here teaches people, educates people about why the shark is so important. You know, out of 350 species of shark, only about 10 percent of these animals are dangerous. So people have to understand that.

KING: What about -- but how, Nigel Marven, do you deal with that 10 percent? How do you avoid it?

NIGEL MARVEN, HOST, "WILD, WILD SHARK WEEK": Well, one of the things they say don't swim in the early morning, don't swim in the evening. Don't wear watches like this when you're swimming or jewelry, because they flash in the sunlit waters and sharks can mistake you for a school of fish or something. But we've always got to remember we're never going to be a hundred percent safe in the sea. It's their -- we're going into their backyard. And even though attacks are rare and these things are terrible tragedies, you've got much more chance of being struck by lightning than attacked by a shark when you're swimming. And we can't -- it is not a big swimming pool. If you want a hundred percent safety, we're just going to have to stick to swimming pools.

KING: And I know Nigel does a lot of work with the Discovery Channel, and this is their 14th shark week. It's now under way, kicked off Sunday with the premier of "Air Jaws," the sharks of South Africa, who do amazing things like jump up in the air. We'll see some shots of that.

Richard Ellis, you wrote the "Book of Sharks" and "Great White Shark." You're an authority on marine biology. What is your particular interest in sharks?

RICHARD ELLIS, AUTHOR, "GREAT WHITE SHARK": I've always liked the way sharks look. I think that they are built beautifully, and I've always been fascinated by the design of them. I think that we have to respect sharks for what they are and not add some kind of a mystery to them that makes them stranger and more dangerous than they really are.

KING: But they are dangerous when hungry, right?

ELLIS: We're not even sure that it has to do with hungry. It may be an instinctive reaction. It may have something to do with the evolution of sharks. They've been around for roughly 300 million years. And if something moved in the water, it was edible to a shark. All of a sudden, in say the last couple of hundred years, people have started swimming in the water and they resent the fact that sharks have been trained as it were, have evolved to eat things that move in the water. That's really all it is. If it moves in the water and you're a shark, you can eat it. They're not mistaking it for anything. It's just everything in the water has been edible until fairly recently.

KING: We're going to take a break. When we come back, a man who lost an arm to a full grown bull shark. And later, woman who was attacked by a shark when she was more than six months pregnant. And don't forget, Nigel Marven, one of our panelists, is going to go swimming on this program live with the sharks. We'll be right back, meet Chuck Anderson. Don't go away.



CHUCK ANDERSON, LOST ARM TO SHARK: Shark came after me the third time, and I tried to push off, and I thought he missed me that time as well. I later found out in the hospital two days later that he had taken a chunk out of my stomach.

The fourth time he came after me, I could see the fin come straight at me. And I was going to try push off of it again. And when I went to push off, my right hand went completely into his mouth. And when it did, he rolled straight to the bottom, and he just drug me across the bottom gnashing his head back and forth just swinging me around like a rag doll.


KING: Chuck Anderson, the subject there on Discovery Channel, is with us now here in our studios in Los Angeles, the shark attack survivor. By the way, there were a number of shark attacks in the United States year, 79, 20 more than the year before, and a lot more than anywhere else in the world. And most occurred in Florida.

And what were you doing swimming with sharks?

ANDERSON: Oh, I wasn't planning on doing that, Larry.

KING: What were you doing -- competition, right?

ANDERSON: Yes, sir. There was a group of us that were training for a triathlon, and we met at 6:30 that morning to go swim. And three of us had decided to go out a little bit early and check the water out because it was a little bit rough and we had a 14-year-old girl planning on swimming with us. So we decided to go out a little bit early and...

KING: And what happened?

ANDERSON: About five minutes into my swim, something ran into me, came up from the bottom and actually flipped me over in the water, turned me upside down. And I knew immediately that it was something that was going to be bad.

KING: Did it knock your arm off right away?

ANDERSON: Oh, no, sir. The first time, it just turned me over, and I was able to warn the lady that was swimming with me, a 64-year- old lady named Karen Forfar, I told her, "Karen, hurry up get out of water. There's a shark out here. I need to " -- you know, "We need to get out of the water as quickly as possible I started looking around for the shark, actually looked down into the water with my goggles. And to my surprise, the shark was about a foot and a half from me, and I was able to put my hands out real quickly. And the shark took the four fingers off my right hand on that attack. He came back at me a third time and actually bit me in the stomach. And then the fourth time, the fin was coming through water shark and the shark latched onto my arm and drug me to bottom. And the fight was on.

KING: Were you in shock or in pain?

ANDERSON: Wasn't in either.

KING: No pain, no shock?

ANDERSON: No pain at that stage of the game.

KING: Just trying to stay alive?

ANDERSON: It was a real need to survive at that time.

KING: And how did you survive?

ANDERSON: Got a 14-year-old son, a 16-year-old daughter that kept coming to mind and realize that I needed to be around to help raise them. They're real important to me and...

KING: Did he the lower part your arm?

ANDERSON: No, sir. We ended up on a sand bar, and I was trying to get away from the shark. He was laying on top of me. And as I pulled and tugged, I couldn't get away from him, and I worked my arm up and down three or four times and the arm actually broke off in his mouth and I fell backwards over the sand bar.

KING: And he went back in the water?

ANDERSON: I didn't turn around to see where he went. I just ran to the beach.

KING: Do you think it was deliberate?

ANDERSON: I just think it was happen chance. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I'd been out there probably 50 or 60 times, and made the same swim in the last five or six years and...

KING: Do you hate sharks?

ANDERSON: No, sir. I was in the wrong place. And you know, I knew what the risk was when I went out there. We all know that there are sharks out there. There's been at least two other times I've been out there that there's been a shark between myself and the beach. So you know...

KING: You're saying it was your fault?

ANDERSON: No, I don't think it was my fault, but it certainly wasn't the shark's fault. It was just a chance I took and...

KING: Our guests are saying it's the shark's domain. ANDERSON: Absolutely.

KING: You're in his territory.

ANDERSON: I agree with that. I agree with that analysis.

KING: Now what saved your life? Why didn't you die from loss of bleeding?

ANDERSON: I was able to get a tourniquet on my arm. You've got about -- I had about 15 1/2 units of blood in my body, and when I got to the hospital, I had less than five. So I wasn't too far away from bleeding out as well.

KING: Jack Hanna, what do you make of that?

HANNA: Well, you know, Larry, as they say, it's the shark's domain. But the other gentleman said, I dove with the sharks in South Africa. Larry, it is a magnificent creature. You know, look at the teeth here. These are teeth from some of the sand tiger sharks here at Sea World. And of course, they're very sharp, they're razor sharp. If you heard what people have said, it happened so fast that they don't even know they'd been bitten.

I think one reason, Larry, is we have -- in this country, we have about 75 percent of the shark attacks is we have surfers. And of course, if a surfer is on a surfboard, they eat seals and sea lions that kind of looks like that. I don't think any shark is after a human being from the diving I've done in the Caribbean, South Africa, also in Galapagos with hammerheads. So most of these animals are just out there as predators, one of the chief predators of the ocean, looking for food. And their sensories -- as these guys know probably more than me -- their senses of smell. I mean, Larry, they can smell a fish struggling, you know, 400 or 500 yards away, the electricity that they have. These animals are meat eaters, carnivores of the ocean, and they're an animal that was built to sustain life how they do it.

KING: Nigel, so therefore, you agree that shark was not chasing Chuck?

MARVEN: Yes, as Chuck says, it's a terrible tragedy that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Great white sharks, they're the species that make the most attacks on people. When they bite, they usually back off. They don't come in to kill us because they've got amazing teeth like tense yomatism (ph). They can fell when they bite. They haven't got hands or they haven't got tentacles. When they bite, they're sensing us, and they sense we haven't got any blubber. What they're interested in is calorie-packed seals and fur seals. That's what they want to eat. They're not after us as prey. There's only been, you know, about 200 attacks with great whites in the last 100 years, so it really is very rare. And sometimes we may get in between a male and a female shark, and then they attack. We may be in their territory. How do we know what their territory is under the water?

KING: Richard Ellis, Chuck Anderson is just unlucky? ELLIS: Absolutely. There are, in fact, very few shark attacks in the ocean, and most of them take place for reasons that we still don't understand. I think it's fair to say that sharks don't attack people because they're trying to eat the people. As Nigel just said, they tend to spit out things that are not familiar to them. But the problem is if you're a shark and if you're testing something, the likelihood is that the something you're testing is going to get some tooth holes in it before you decide to spit it out.

KING: Chuck Anderson is going to remain with us. The panel, of course, remains with us. Coming up, surviving one shark attack is amazing enough. We'll hear from a guy who lived through two. And later, Nigel Marven will take the plunge. Nigel Marven will go into a tank -- there he is -- and swim with the sharks. He'll do it, not me. Don't go away.


KING: We're back. Joining us now from San Francisco is Rodney Orr. He's a diver. He was attacked by a great white shark off the California coast on September 8th of 1990. His second shark attack.

Are you -- the snake bit used to be term. Rodney, are you shark bit?

RODNEY ORR, SURVIVED TWO SHARK ATTACKS: No, not really. I still dive regularly.

KING: All right, what happened the first time?

ORR: Well, the first time was in '61. I got bit at Tomales. I got bit on the side. The second time, I was worse. Big white grabbed me by the head. It put the teeth through the cheekbone right here and threw my nose. I got a row of holes that go up the back of my head. Should have took my head off, but he never thrashed. He carried me like 60, 70 feet and let go of me.

KING: Wow. Were you in pain?

ORR: You know, the guy that lost his arm, same thing. I never felt nothing. The noise was worse than the bite, actually. I heard it sound like, you know, like a garage door slamming. But I had no pain. It was actually painless. The fight was on. And trying to get away, he carried me like 60, 70 feet and let go of me. So I had to swim back to my board, which was upside down. We crashed into it, turned it upside down. And there I was. I was by myself.

KING: They make a lot of noise, huh?

ORR: Oh, the bone did, because he went through here and through my nose so, you know, I had the core. So I knew I was hurt, and I knew help was like a mile and a quarter away. So I was on my own.

KING: What do you think, Rodney, saved you?

ORR: Actually myself, because I told myself, if I pass out, I'm in the water and I drown or the shark gets me. So, you know, I just couldn't let it go. I had to get back to shore.

KING: Did you just swim way and it didn't follow?

ORR: Well, I saw the shark after it hit me the first time. But I got back on my board, got my board turned over, got it bailed out. And I paddled back, you know, by myself a mile and a quarter. Got back to the beach. Help was there. They air freighted me off the beach in a helicopter and got to the hospital, which took about an hour. And they started sewing me up then.

KING: And you still dive?

ORR: I went a week after the attack, but I love it.

KING: Chuck, do you still go in water?

ANDERSON: I've been in the water one time. I did a triathlon back in April, and I'm going to do one in two weeks. But I don't go out recreationally swim. I stick to lane lines of swimming pool now.

KING: Do you have no fear, Rodney, or are you just more careful?

ORR: Well, a lot more careful. I do a lot more looking around. I've only seen one white since '90, and that was actually -- I was sitting on my board. I was getting ready to take my top off, and I saw it in the water. I think set a land speed record. Had about a mile paddle. I think I had a rooster tail behind my board.

KING: So you go back in?

ORR: I do.

LIGHT: Rodney, do you bear any ill-will towards sharks?

ORR: Well, I lost my ab iron, but other than that, no, no, I wouldn't kill one.

KING: You would not?

ORR: No.

KING: Thank you. That was Rodney Orr, another amazing story. The moment -- at this moment, 17 sharks are waiting. The moment is almost here. Nigel Marven is just about set to go into the Marine World tank in Vallejo. Plus, get ready, Nigel. You're going in. And we'll be able to talk to you when you're in, we understand. Plus, more terrifying stories from real-life shark attack survivors. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, man, god. Holy moly. Get that?


KING: OK, Nigel Marven, you are going to get set to go in the tank, right? When next we see you, you'll be in that tank.

MARVEN: Yes, a lot of big sharks in there but I love it. It's going to be fun.

KING: You're not nervous at all.

MARVEN: Well, a little bit. My heart is beating a little bit. But people have only been in there four times before. So we're -- it's a bit nerve-racking.

KING: We'll see you in the next segment.

MARVEN: Yes, Larry.

KING: Nigel heads off. When we come back in the next segment, he'll be in the tank.

Jack Hanna, what was it like to swim with them?

HANNA: It was incredible, Larry, to swim with sharks. I want to show you something, too. Let me show you this baby shark, Larry. To be with the great whites was the most incredible experience I ever had. Look at this right here. This is how a shark -- they're egg layers and they're also live bearers. Can you see that? That's the baby shark in the casing about four months old, Larry. Can you believe that grows to be one of the greatest predators off the ocean? Here at Sea World, they're actually one of the few places that actually breed and raise sharks here. Can you see the shark, Larry, the outline there?

KING: I was there last week and saw it. There it is.

HANNA: Look at that. See it moving. isn't that amazing? Absolutely amazing what they do here. And that's what we try and teach people at Sea World is to educate them about the shark and how important because, Larry, right now, sharks with over fishing, they're used for jewelry, they're used -- the skins used for sandpaper, vitamins. And, of course, you know, the shark fin soup. A lot of these sharks are going into extinction right now. We've got to stop that because predators serve a great purpose in the ocean. Our animal adventure show, we try and show how important these animals are no matter what type of predator they are.

KING: Richard Ellis, would you swim with sharks?

ELLIS: I have already done that.

KING: You have?

ELLIS: I've done it, yeah. I've done it several times.

KING: And?

ELLIS: And I -- you develop an even greater respect for sharks when you swim with them. You get a sense that once again, this is their element, and you are a trespasser in their element, because you see how beautifully designed they are for existing in that element. And one of the things that happens is you feel extraordinarily clumsy. You feel like a kind of a swimming milking stool or something. You can't even come close to the ability of a shark in the water. And for that reason if for no other, you respect them because they are so perfectly designed to do what they do.

KING: Chuck is nodding his head. Do you agree?

ANDERSON: Threw me around like a rag doll. Gave me a new appreciation for the strength of a shark.

KING: Lot of power.

ANDERSON: Lots of power.

KING: You're not a light guy, right?

ANDERSON: No, sir. I'm about 225 pounds. And it threw me around. I had no control whatsoever.

KING: How frightened were you?

ANDERSON: I was trying to survive too much to be frightened. I didn't take time to think about what might -- when the shark first hit me, it was kind of like a doll coming and attacking a runner. I was hollering at the shark, you know, "No, no, quit." And I realized it didn't have any ears. So, you know, I knew that wasn't going to do me any good. So really, it was only one thing to do, and that was just try to fight to survive at that point.

KING: Would they be called a dumb animal, Jack? No?

HANNA: Oh, no, no. The shark -- it's hard to measure intelligence in an animal, but as far as what nature gave the shark, they are the most fitting machine, predatory machine probably in the world. So they know exactly what they're doing probably from day they come out of that casing till they have to start hunting. And of course, they get bigger and bigger and bigger. Of course, some sharks are anywhere from six inches long when they're full grown up to, my gosh, what is it? Two-thousand pounds. A great whites up to 20 feet long. The one that we had, Larry, when I was in the cage in South Africa was about 13 to 14 feet long, and actually tore the cable into the big cord that the cage was on.

They had a safety cable the producer was in, Larry Elliston (ph). And it was an amazing thing to watch that shark take that cage. As these gentlemen said, the power is unbelievable.

KING: Richard, is there a record ever for the larger shark?

ELLIS: Well, the larger shark is a harmless creature known as the whale shark, which gets to be about 50 feet long. But the largest predatory shark is, in fact, the white shark. And the largest one ever measured accurately is probably 21 feet long. There are many, many suggestions that they have been larger than that, but when it comes down to actually producing an accurate measurement, I think we're still at the 21-foot level.

KING: Are you saying the whale shark is 50 feet long and would not bother you?

ELLIS: The whale shark is 50 feet long and wouldn't bother anything larger than a sardine.

KING: A chicken shark.

ELLIS: No, it's a very, very -- it's a big animal but an animal that survives by eating plankton. There's another shark that's considerably larger than the white shark called the basking shark, and that gets to be about 40 feet long. And it's another plankton eater. So the largest predatory, the largest carnivorous shark is the white shark.

KING: Chuck, you're a high school principal, right?


KING: Do all the people in the school like kind of love this adventure with you?

ANDERSON: They've kind of stayed away from asking if they could check out from (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But they've been excited about it and it's been interesting to see all the media and that sort of thing that's been around from it. It's been an interesting topic and had several good questions asked.

KING: OK, when we go to go to break now, when we come back, Nigel Marven will go into the shark tank. And kids, we ask you not to try this at home. And to test your knowledge about sharks, on "King's Quiz," log on to our Web site at

Nigel in the tank when we come back, next. Don't go away.


KING: We are back. Our subject tonight is sharks, and Nigel Marven is at Shark Experience at Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, California. Can you hear us, Nigel?

MARVEN: I can hear you very well.

KING: OK, we see you. You are swimming into the tank now.

MARVEN: I'm going in now. This is -- this is flipping brilliant. That's a brown shark. They mainly feed on fish. I'm taking my watch off. And then this here -- which I -- maybe I should start -- you should not do this in the wild, but they are used to being -- that is lovely. This is a nurse shark. The skin feels wonderful, like sandpaper. Sharks have got (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

It's called a nurse shark because you see those barbels under the mouth. What they do is they swim along the bottom, feel for fish and other things, and they slurp them up. And noise that they make is just like when a mother feeds her babies, just like breast-feeding a baby. And that's why they are called nurse sharks.

The only thing I'm worried about in here, there is a big swordfish. That's a bony fish, it's not a shark -- they haven't got any bones at all. And everyone has been worried here that it could use its sword to cut my airline or even impale me. It's not around at the moment. Look at this. This is a wonderful brown shark here.

KING: Nigel, is there a white shark in that tank?


KING: Because if there were, you would not be there.

MARVEN: They need to keep swimming all the time. These nurse sharks you saw sitting on the bottom. They've got muscles in their mouth so they can pump water through to their gills. But the white shark, they have to roam the oceans, swim all of the time. And that is why they keep moving,

But you know, two thirds of sharks -- it's a myth that they have to keep swimming to breathe. They can actually pump water with muscles in their mouth. But this is so flipping brilliant being in their environment. This is what I love. This is what gives me my buzz. Look at that. They are so beautiful. They have been around 400 million years. They're more like jet fighters, as Richard said earlier, more like jet fighters than fish.

They've got these amazing senses. They will be sensing the electrical impulses in my muscles now, they'll be feeling my heartbeat. And they are incredible. There is so much we don't know about them. They have only recently discovered that sharks can see very well close up. Experiments in the past showed that they could only see long distances, but they can actually see things very close. There is a scientist -- hey! I've been bitten by a little fish there.

KING: What do you think they think you are?

MARVEN: I don't know. They're a bit -- they're not coming as close because they are a bit nervous by the bubbles. It's phenomenal being in their environment. We are always at a disadvantage. We have to struggle with buoyancy and breathing underwater. Look at the way they can move. And it's, you know -- unless we get really great technology we are never going to be on their terms in their environment.

And to be honest I get that frisson of excitement just knowing that -- I mean, not these sharks -- but when you go in the water -- I have actually swum with a great white shark -- but you're in the water with the last free great predator of man. You know, they are free swimming and they can eat us, and that's what gets us excited. I say it's very rare, but they are beautiful creatures. And I can't believe that we look at them -- look at that, these lovely pectoral fins, they flare out in front just like an airplane. Now, we kill a hundred -- between a hundred and two hundred million every single year. So they certainly wreak their revenge for the few attacks that they do on us. There's been 31 attacks worldwide this year and only one fatality. KING: Hold on, Nigel. We are going to break, and when we come back we'll have the panel talk to you as well. By the way, Chuck Anderson may look at this as getting revenge for what they did to him, but he likes sharks. We'll be right back. Nigel will remain in the water. And we'll have Jack and Richard and Chuck talk with him as well. This LARRY KING LIVE. It's shark night, so don't go away.


KING: Nigel Marven, the naturalist, zoologist and botanist, host of "Wild, Wild Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel remains there in pool -- the shark pool at Six Flags Marine World. Chuck Anderson, do you have a question or a comment for Nigel? Then we'll get the other panel members.

ANDERSON: Nigel, I notice you are real comfortable in there. Do you think if that was a bull shark or a tiger shark you would be quite as comfortable?

MARVEN: I have swum with tiger sharks, but we must we always work with top scientists to understand the behavior of the sharks. You know, a normal sports diver, somebody that does just normal scuba -- if you see a shark just get back in a rock crevice. Just enjoy their beauty, but don't approach them. As I say, you can see these nurse sharks in shallow water in the Bahamas. But if you touch them, they can bite. It's only because these are used to be -- being stroked that I can do it.

KING: Jack Hanna, do you have any comment or question for Nigel?

HANNA: I just wonder, do they feed them before he went in? Because I know here at Sea World they feed the sharks about three times a week, about 60 pounds of squid and animals like that. What did they feed the ones there? And I guess they fed them right before he went in, I hope.

MARVEN: Yes, sorry, I missed -- I think it was about what they feed them in here.

HANNA: Right.

MARVEN: It sounds as though they've got exactly the same feeding regimen as you at Marine World there.

KING: Same as at Sea World. Were they fed today right before you went in?

MARVEN: They were fed yesterday morning, Larry, because I didn't want them too fat. They look a bit fat, anyway, it looks like they've drunk too much beer, this nurse shark down here. But that's the shape they've got. They've got a bit of a pot belly, whereas the ocean sharks -- the blue sharks, the makos, the tiger sharks -- they are sleek and they are constantly swimming. I mean, it amazes me.

There's over 380 species of sharks. We think of them all big, but 80 percent of them are smaller than I am. I am 6'2", and your average shark is only four feet long. Look at this one here, this these are look at this one here, this wonderful nurse shark, got those barbels under its chin for sensing food. These are pretty big as sharks go. Your average shark is only four feet long.

KING: Richard Ellis, I love the way sharks look. I agree with you sharks -- nobody swims like a shark. Human or fish. Do you have any questions or comments for Nigel?

ELLIS: I think it's worth noting that Nigel is doing something that virtually everybody in the world has done, at one time or another, and that is swimming with sharks. Most people simply don't know it. There are a lot of sharks in the water and there are a lot of people in the water. The fact is, if sharks actually ate people no beach on earth would be safe for swimming, but they really don't.

They are an occasional attack, and I certainly sympathize with the people who had their arms bitten off, like little Jessie Arbogast who had his arm bitten off, but this is a very, very unusual event, and the fact is that when most people go swimming, there are sharks in the water with them -- not within two or three feet the way they are with Nigel, but within range. And the fact still remains, that we are very, very safe from sharks except in those very, very rare instances where a shark does what sharks do, which is try and eat something.

KING: Nigel, are you aware that you are a -- visitor?

MARVEN: Yeah, I'm a visitor. I'm -- hopefully I'm an ambassador for sharks, as I say, we have problems when we're filming them. We were going to try on a shark suit once. We were in the water with bull sharks, and they were scared of us. They wouldn't come close enough. We kept pitching this electrical current to frighten them away. I have more chance of, you know, being bitten by the fish than the sharks, so under most circumstances they won't come near us.

And I -- you know, it is such a privilege to do things of this -- we hopefully are going to do a film about bull sharks on the Discovery Channel next year. And I can't wait for that. They go right into fresh water, and that's a species I haven't swum with yet, so it's always great fun doing all of these different things, seeing these -- you know, they are they are wonderful creatures. They really are.

KING: Chuck, your respect for them continues?

ANDERSON: No doubt. You know, like the gentleman said, they're out there all the time and we know they're out there. And we should respect the responsibility that we have of being out there right time of day. Being with a large group of people.

KING: They are beautiful.

ANDERSON: Oh, they really, truly are.

KING: When they've got their mouth on your arm, though, you are not admiring their beauty.

ANDERSON: When they're six inches from your face, they're not quite as good-looking as it is swimming out there in a tank.

KING: Nigel, this was wonderful. You can come up and out now and join our panel.

MARVEN: Thanks very much. It's been brilliant fun, brilliant fun, Larry.

KING: Brilliant for us, too. Nigel Marven will return to our panel. There he goes, leaving the tank at the Shark Experience at Six Flags in Marine World. Richard Ellis, the famed author and authority on marine biology is at our studio in New York. Jack Hanna is at -- who's the host of Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures -- is at the -- he is director emeritus of the San Diego Zoo and he's at the famed Sea World in San Diego. And Chuck Anderson is here with us in the studios. And still to come, a pregnant lifeguard survives a shark attack. Her story in her own words. Plus a surfer who never saw the great white who tried to rip off his leg until it was way too late. Don't go away.


KING: Nigel Marven is on his way back to a dry spot. Joining us now in Orlando, Florida is Dawn Schauman. Dawn is a shark-attack survivor, has her own web site, She was attacked by a ten-foot bull shark off the coast of Florida, October 26, 1993. She was six and a half months pregnant. In San Francisco is Scott Yerby. He was attacked by a great white shark while surfing with a friend off the California coast on August 24, 1997. What were you doing in the water 6 1/2 months pregnant, Dawn?

DAWN SCHAUMAN, SHARK ATTACK SURVIVOR: I knew I was going to get that question. I was working as a lifeguard and I was swimming laps. I was training like I always had for the five years I worked as lifeguard.

KING: And what happened?

SCHAUMAN: I started my morning swim. And there was nobody on the beach except for one couple and the lifeguard I was working with. And I got my goggles on and started swimming. I got about 100 yards down the beach, I was probably about 75 yards out, 15 feet of water. I was swimming and I felt something tremendous just slam into me. It was like a truck. It spun me around. And when I sat up I was facing in the opposite direction. It disoriented me for a minute.

And then I realized it was a shark and I felt this burning in my leg and on my arm, and I had this -- obviously I was pregnant, and my hand was over my stomach and when shark attacked it came at me and it pushed my hand and slammed into my stomach. So I felt a tremendous compression on my stomach. Being pregnant, it scared the heck out of me. I didn't know what to think, and I couldn't see my stomach because there was no visibility in the water.

KING: How did you get away?

SCHAUMAN: I sat up. I signaled to the guy for help. No response. So I just started -- at that point went into a sort of a panic, and then I realized that the only way I was getting out there was to rely on my own training. So I just started swimming in with one arm and one leg until I reached the beach.

KING: Was the baby born OK?

SCHAUMAN: Yeah, the baby -- I was on three months of bed rest. It put me into premature labor. But yes, he was born healthy at seven pounds.

KING: And how old is he now?

SCHAUMAN: MacIntyre -- his middle name is shark -- MacIntyre Shark is seven years old.

KING: Does he like sharks?

SCHAUMAN: He does, and he has a great story for show-and-tell.

KING: Scott Yerby in San Francisco, what happened to you?

SCOTT YERBY, SHARK ATTACK SURVIVOR: I was on trip, a surfing weekend with a friend of mine. My wife was away on business in Japan and I was showing my friend where I grew up, where I learned to surf. And we surfed one day. The next day was our travel day home. We had no intention of surfing, however, the weather was great so we decided to go surfing. And 20 minutes into it, all of a sudden a great force hit me on my leg, hit me on hand. I thought it was sea lion.

I hit it with my right hand and got back on my board, looked around, saw a pool of blood around me. Looked at my leg, I could see my femur. Looked at my arm, looked at my hands and I could see all my tendons and decided something was very serious. Yelled for help to my friend. Nobody else was in the water. There just happened to be a sand castle contest going on, on the beach. We reached the shore at the same time. I was able to paddle in. He yelled for help. And luckily he's a national life guard -- ski patrol, sorry, and he was able to command everybody and get the troops ready to apply first aid.

KING: How much blood did you lose?

YERBY: About four units.

KING: How many units in the body?

YERBY: From what I understand, about eight or nine.

KING: You lost half your blood.

YERBY: That's what I gather, yep.

KING: What is your condition currently? Everything OK now?

YERBY: Everything is perfect. I still play basketball, baseball, I still run, ride my mountain bike, everything I used to do. KING: Still surf?

YERBY: Still surf regularly, yes. Went surfing Saturday.

KING: What do you think of sharks?

YERBY: I think they're great. I agree with everybody's opinion on this panel.

KING: Dawn, what do you think of sharks?

SCHAUMAN: I agree. They are beautiful creatures. And if you want to go swimming in the ocean, just make sure you know the conditions before you go in.

KING: We will have everybody remain and we'll have them all come back. Nigel is back in place, and we'll have some closing thoughts from each of our guests. Don't go away.


KING: We are back. You can now log on to our web site at for the answer to King's Quiz. Nigel back in shape. What does feel like to come out of the water after that experience?

MARVEN: I didn't even have time to dry down, but you know, it's a brilliant experience. Love doing thing like that. And it's great fun. There's a fantastic show, Shark Attack (UNINTELLIGIBLE) three which explains why sharks attack. That's on Discovery Channel later this week. So don't miss that. It's a lot more stuff.

KING: You guys -- Jack Hanna, you envy him, right?

HANNA: Sure, I do. We have done the same thing and had the opportunity to dive with the sharks. I just want people to take home the thought that these sharks are magnificent creatures, just like the gorilla is, or the wolf, and that these animals, even though there are myths about them, we can have fun at movies with books, but remember what they are. They are God's creatures that are put here for a certain reason, and if they leave this earth then we have big problems. And thanks to Sea World, the Columbus Zoo, all the parks for their job in preserving these animals.

KING: Richard Ellis, what do you think before we talk some more to our victims here -- what is biggest misconception about sharks.

ELLIS: The biggest misconception, I think, is that sharks are all dangerous. Of the 350-odd species of sharks, there may be three that have been implicated regularly in attacks on people, and they are the white shark, the tiger shark and the bull shark. The rest of them are small, harmless, they don't live anywhere near where people live.

So when you see shark week, or when you interview a whole lot of shark victims, the impression you get is that the ocean is a terribly dangerous place full of creatures that are trying to bite your arms and legs off, and in fact these are animals that I think should be respected, that lead wonderfully interesting lives, that are very sensitive creatures, that is, they have very elaborate sensory system. And we ought to, I think, admire them for what they are and not turn them into some kind of frightening creatures out of Jaws.

KING: What is life expectancy, by the way?

ELLIS: There are so many different sharks, it's really hard to tell. Probably a great white shark like the one you're looking at there may live ten years.

KING: Dawn, have you -- do you go in the water?

SCHAUMAN: Yes, I do. I go in the water and I take my children in the water also.

KING: You do not have fear of returning to the place where a serious thing happened to you?

SCHAUMAN: No. Actually I filmed a series -- a shark series when I was pregnant with my third child at the exact same location that I was attacked. I got back in the water and swam the exact location when I was pregnant again. You just have to know your conditions and know when to enter the water.

KING: Scott Yerby, you have no fear at all when you go in the water.

YERBY: I can't say that. If I start to feel a little bit of fear, I just leave the water. But for the most part, no.

KING: Are there moments you have felt a little fear?

YERBY: Oh, sure. Just -- especially when there's only one or two surfers out and I look around and I say, "If this happens again, there is very little chance that people can save me." So I try to stay away from unpopulated beaches.

KING: Of course, Chuck, you live constantly with the reminder that you have one arm.

ANDERSON: No question. But I will get back in the water. My kids have been back in water, and I think we should all be very respectful of the sharks at the beach, but I don't think we should deny ourselves of beach and enjoying the beautiful water. And I will get comfortable again. It's only been a year, but I will get better.

KING: Were you right-handed?

ANDERSON: I was very much right handed.

KING: So you had to teach yourself to be left handed.

ANDERSON: I'll still learning every day.

KING: Do you have an apparatus that you wear for the arm? ANDERSON: I have a prosthetic device that I wear on my bicycle, and I use a swim paddle that attached to my stump for me to swim in the water.

KING: But great respect for sharks.

ANDERSON: Great respect. And I'm like Scott, there are times I'm a little more apprehensive than others, and I just get out of the water during those situations.

KING: Thank you all very much. Jack Hanna at the San Diego -- at the San Diego scene of the Sea World. Nigel Marven at the Shark Experience at Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo. Richard Ellis in New York. Dawn Schauman in Orlando, Scott Yerby in San Francisco and here in Los Angeles, Chuck Anderson. Thanks very much for joining us. Stay tuned for "CNN TONIGHT." And good night.