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Feb 4, 2010 9:21 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Man killed by shark swarm off Florida

A man kite surfing off a Florida beach has died after being surrounded and attacked by sharks.

While swimmers and surfers often receive minor bites in Florida waters, officials say fatal shark attacks are extremely rare.

The Martin County Sheriff's Office said a lifeguard first saw the man in distress about 500 yards from shore Wednesday near Stuart, on the Atlantic coast. The lifeguard paddled out and found sharks encircling 38-year-old Stephen Howard Schafer.

The lifeguard put Schafer on his rescue board and paddled back to shore. Paramedics took Schafer to a hospital, where he later died.

Research scientist Grant Gilmore told The Palm Beach Post the attackers were likely juvenile great white sharks.

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