In a country more used to bear attacks, two people have survived rare shark attacks while swimming in waters off Russia’s Pacific coast.
In the latest incident a 16-year old suffered serious injuries to his legs and torso.
A day earlier, in roughly the same area, a 25-year-old holiday maker lost both arms up to the elbow.
He was swimming with his wife in the sea near Vityaz village, some 230 kilometres south of the regional capital Vladivostok.
Officials said these are the first ever recorded shark attacks on Russia’s far Eastern Pacific coastline.
An eyewitness to the first incident, Andrei Tarasov, told Russian television: “When the boat came in to shore, one man aboard was shouting “Shark!” and I didn’t believed him at first, but from his face I could tell he wasn’t joking.
When I saw the guy who was attacked, I had no more doubts. Both his hands were bitten off, and he had bites on his legs and torso.”
The authorities have now banned swimming in some areas and deployed rescue boats to enforce the ban.
Mobile phone pictures have emerged which seem to show a shark at least two metres long – possibly a great white.
World Wildlife Foundation expert Konstantin Zgurovsky said: “It came here with warm currents from the southern seas. It might have migrated there following fish stocks or squid.”
He added these creatures have big appetites and the danger continues: “If it has tried the human flesh, it could stay in the area for a while, and you really have to be extra careful.”
If it is a great white shark, some experts say its appearance in these waters, not far from Russia’s border with North Korea, might be linked to climate change.