Like I was saying....

Swimmer Killed by Shark in California

[how stupid can you be?]

AVILA BEACH, Calif. – A 50-year-old college instructor taking a morning
swim bled to death after she was attacked by a great white shark 15 to 18
feet long, preliminary autopsy results showed Wednesday.

Deborah Franzman of Nipomo was killed Tuesday as she swam 75 yards
offshore alongside a group of seals. Witnesses reported seeing a large fin
as Franzman screamed for help.

Lifeguards pulled Franzman to shore, where she died. Bite marks on her
legs were consistent with those seen in previous attacks by great white
sharks, San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s Lt. Martin Basti said.

Shark expert Robert Lea, present during the autopsy, estimated the fish
was between 15 and 18 feet long.

“That’s incredibly large,” Basti said…

An unknown species of shark was spotted in the area after the attack,
Basti said.

Franzman likely bled to death after her left femoral artery was severed in
the attack, Basti said.

Franzman’s death marked the 10th fatal shark attack in California since
1952 and the first death since 1994, according to state Fish and Game

Franzman was a sociology instructor at Allan Hancock College in Santa
Maria. She swam in the area by the Avila Beach Pier several times a week,
friend Andrea Sanders said through tears.

“She loved it. She would talk about how fun it was to swim and play with
the seals,” Sanders said.

Franzman was wearing a full wetsuit and swim fins when she was attacked,
Lea said. The state marine biologist said the shark may have mistaken
Franzman, silhouetted against the surface, for a seal. The sharks are
ambush predators and attack their prey from below.

“The water was full of blood,” said Antonio Neotti, 15, an aspiring
lifeguard who was nearby at the time.

Avila Beach, located about 200 miles northwest of Los Angeles, was closed
to swimmers after the attack.

Great white sharks are a protected species in California.


  1. giddy

    I've had a longtime desire to swim with dolphins, but I wouldn't do it in shark-infested waters. I prefer to do my swimming in a more controlled environment, i.e. a swimming pool.

  2. Kinj

    heh. No offense but if yer daft enough to swim with seals, you can't really be surprised when a great white takes a run at you.


  3. Alexander Franzman

    I'm the son of debbie Franzman,and I just want to say that I really miss her.

  4. g

    I know this is a serious matter, but the comments are beginning to sound fishy – no pun intended.

  5. Jeffery

    I think she must have been a brave woman who loved life. I dont think she would have blamed the shark, and I think it "DAFT" of you Kinj to blame her for swimming with seals. Have you been around the open ocean much? There is always people swimming near sea lions. Its part of swimming in the ocean. Its very very rare anyone is attacked. I never bought the idea that a species that has been hunting seals for millions of years cant tell the difference between a graceful seal, and a at best, clumbsy human. She had the kind of spirit that finds it place in the sea. I admire her greatly, and to her son I say you were lucky, and my heart goes out to you.

  6. pam

    i was a close friend of debbie…i swam with her in the ocean while training for a triathlon. she had a healthy fear of sharks, and she never deliberately swam with the seals. when we would pop our heads up and see the seals close by, we would generally put distance between us and them for that very reason. when debbie said she played with the seals, she did not mean that literally.

    whoever was so cold and callous as to say she died of stupidity should think twice about writing something so hurtful. debbie was not a stupid woman. when you swim in the ocean and your head is in the water, you do not see everything around you. had she known she was surrounded by seals, she would have moved away from them.
    she swam in those waters several times a week for at least 14 years. it was a freak thing and she fell victim to the worst odds.

    it's been almost a year….and i think about her every day. i have only been back to avila twice since she was killed. it is a beautiful place, but it no longer holds me in a way that feels good. i just feel an immense sadness and a frustration with something i cannot change.

  7. Stacie

    I am the niece of Debbie and I am tyring to understand how people can be so selfish and make jokes about people. Put yourself in her families shoes. When a loved one dies in your family and someone makes a joke or comment the way some of you have tell me then you think my aunt was stupid. It is you who wears the name as you never were smart enough to know who my Aunt Debbie was and what it was she believed in. I live near Avila and can still bear the thought of going near it. August 19th was always a specail day as it is my birthday and now its even more so. I love you Debbie and miss you dearly. Loving thoughts on the first anniversary of your passing. I will always remember how stupid you were not.

  8. David

    Well, I have read the other comments. I agree with the family members, it is a tragedy when someone in your family dies. It was a lesser risk to swim with the seals as it is for any of us to walk downtown in our own hometown. We all have to remember, sharks are predators, and they have no remorse, prejudice or concern for humans. They eat to survive and sometimes humans are on the menu. Maybe we can learn that the ocean is their domain, and we all run the risk of swimming in their dining room.

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