“Nina Lanctot sprinted toward a calamity she had long ago foretold. It was mid-September 2018. Moments earlier, Lanctot, an ocean lifeguard and former collegiate swimmer, was eating lunch in the parking lot at Newcomb Hollow, a beach in the town of Wellfleet on Outer Cape Cod. The season had ended and crowds had thinned. She was off duty and spent that Saturday morning surfing with friends, reveling in the satisfying vibe of local residents coming together at summer’s end. Then came shouts: “Shark bite!”
Instantly she was on her feet.
Earlier Lanctot noticed two men with boogie boards headed toward a break south of the lot. The pair, Arthur Medici and Isaac Rocha, were visiting from Boston’s suburbs, where Medici, 26, was dating an older sister of Rocha, 16. They walked past a shark-warning sign at about 9:30 a.m. and set up on the ocean side of a sandbar, at a depth of about six feet, and caught waves breaking in the shallows. The morning brought sunshine, lingering warm water and small crowds. Gray seals swam by — one here, two there, a procession. Rocha thought the animals were cool. Shortly after noon, he rode a wave into the foam. Medici hung back, waiting for his own.”