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Beachgoers describe harrowing scene after Cape Cod shark attack

Swimmers at Long Nook Beach in Truro on Thursday, where William Lytton was bit by a shark Wednesday.
Swimmers at Long Nook Beach in Truro on Thursday, where William Lytton was bit by a shark Wednesday. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/Globe Staff


Shaken beachgoers described how a carefree day at a remote Cape Cod beach took a horrific turn when

attacked and

a 61-year-old man Wednesday.

The victim, William Lytton, of Scarsdale, N.Y., remained in serious condition Thursday afternoon at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

Marc Charbonneau, 56, of Montreal said Thursday on Long Nook Beach that he had seen Lytton swimming by himself in the water there Wednesday afternoon. Because it was high tide, the water was “way over his head,” Charbonneau said.

Lytton was swimming near seals, said Charbonneau and a friend, Kevin Cox, 69, of North Carolina. They said Lytton swam past them, parallel to the shore. Cox said Lytton was beyond the seals.


Not long afterward, beachgoers sprang into action when it became clear that a shark had wounded Lytton.

A man who declined to give his name said he and his family had just pulled into the parking lot when a woman ran up a steep bluff and yelled, “Does anybody have a cellphone? There’s been a shark attack.”

The man later saw about 10 people carrying Lytton from the water. Lytton was wrapped in a towel, the man said, and when it slipped he saw “a pattern of red marks” on his leg.

Charbonneau said he and his son were among the people who helped carry Lytton up the narrow path that cuts through the bluff. Lytton, Charbonneau said, had deep marks “all over” his right leg, rear end, and left hand.

Joanne Fredericks, Charbonneau’s wife, said she tried to comfort a distraught woman after the attack.

“She came up crying there,” Fredericks said. “She thought maybe he lost a limb or something.”

Michael Sheridan of Philadelphia said Wednesday night that he had been at Long Nook with his family for about 15 minutes when he saw people running. Some headed toward Lytton in the water, while others ran toward the parking lot because they had no cell service and wanted to call 911.


Lytton left a trail of blood on the sand, Sheridan said, and the gash was deep, located right below the “left hip and upper-quad area.”

“You could almost see his bone,” Sheridan said.

He said Lytton was conscious but didn’t say much as the group carried him up the hill that separates the beach from the lot. Several people were holding the edges of the towel, Sheridan said.

“I thought he was dying right there,” he said. “I thought he was going to bleed out on this beach.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.