Shark Attack Death Of California Navy Contractor Prompts Suspension Of Water Sports For Sailors

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Fernando Licay

The July 14 shark-attack death of a California Navy contractor has prompted the Navy to suspend all water activities in the waters off Navy Support Center Facility Diego Garcia.

Diego Garcia is a coral atoll in the Indian Ocean, about 967 nautical miles south of India's southernmost tip.

The Navy contractor has been identified as Fernando Licay, 33, a Filipino from Santa Clara, California.

Base spokesman Petty Officer 1st Class Edward Vasquez told Stars and Stripes that the shark attacked Licay in a designating swimming area roughly 25 feet from shore.

“He had extensive injuries from the attack. We are all saddened by loss of victim, and thoughts are with family and friends.”

The Philippines newspaper Sun-Star reports the attack was witnessed by several of Licay's friends:

Licay’s companions said the shark came out of nowhere and attacked him moments after he went into the water... They saw Licay fighting for his life as his right leg was chewed by the shark. The group tried to extricate Licay from the shark’s mouth but it held on to its prey...

Licay died a few minutes after he was released by the shark due to excessive loss of blood.

Because Diego Garcia is a British Indian Ocean territory, the British government is investigating the incident alongside the U.S. Navy.