Fact Check Building a better region together, one story at a time

Shark Attacks Save Lives? Fact Check TV

The idea that deaths by drowning have historically fallen in San
Diego after shark attacks is either scientific fact or an urban
legend. Which one is it?


While reviewing a high-profile new book last month, famed physicist Freeman Dyson offered up an intriguing nugget of information.

He said shark attacks deterred people from swimming and therefore reduced deaths by drowning. Shark attacks in San Diego waters had been proven to save the lives of 10 others on average, he said, citing a “careful analysis of deaths in the ocean.”

Since no more than two or three people have been killed by sharks in the county’s recorded history, we went looking for information to back up Dyson’s claim.

In the latest Fact Check TV, Andrew Donohue and Scott Lewis take you along on that journey and reveal Dyson’s response.

Keegan Kyle is a news reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He writes about public safety and handles the Fact Check Blog. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668. You can also find him on Twitter (@keegankyle) and Facebook.

Like VOSD on Facebook.

Show Comments

We’re striving for the best possible discussion and may delete comments using our editorial judgment. All comments containing links will be reviewed by VOSD staff before they are published.
Read our full comment policy.
For longer comments, consider submitting an op-ed to Voice of San Diego.
Read the guidelines here.

We have recently updated our commenting system. If you are unable to submit a comment, please clear the cache and cookies in your browser, or use a private browsing window. Click here for detailed instructions.