Shark Attacks Save Lives? Fact Check TV - Voice of San Diego

Fact Check

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 He writes about public safety and handles the Fact Check Blog. What should he write about next?

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

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