Fishermen find remains of missing father inside shark in Argentina

The remains of a man who went missing in southern Argentina earlier this month appear to have been found inside a schooling shark caught by local fishermen.

The family of Diego Barría, 32, recognized his remains because of a tattoo that was visible, Daniela Millatruz, the police officer in charge of the search, told local news media. Barría had last been seen near the coast of southern Chubut province while driving his all-terrain vehicle late on February 18.

A tank full of thresher sharks (also known as schooling sharks) swimming in British waters.

Haydn West – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

The damaged ATV was located on February 20 on a beach near Rocas Coloradas, but there was no sign of Barría and an intense search began to try to find the father of three.

Early Sunday morning, two fishermen went to the Coast Guard to report that they had fished three school sharks near where Barría’s ATV was located “and when they cleaned them they found human remains in one of them,” Millatruz said. Family members recognized Barría “because of a tattoo that appeared in one of those remains,” she added. Officials continue to investigate what happened to Barría.

“We assume Diego had an accident,” Millatruz said, “and we’re investigating if there was a vehicle involved.”

The remains will also undergo DNA testing to officially confirm they belong to Barría, Cristian Ansaldo, who heads the police department in the town of Comodoro Rivadavia, said in an interview with local media.

The school shark where the human remains were found measured about 5 feet, Ansaldo said.

The most likely hypothesis investigators are working on is that Barría “had an accident and was dragged,” Ansaldo said, noting that there had been a strong tidal wave over the weekend when he disappeared.

Virginia Brugger, who was identified as Barría’s partner and had been posting updates about the search on social media, wrote on Facebook last week: “The kids are already asking for you! …. We’re waiting for you.”

After the remains were found, Brugger wrote, “My heart went out to you! I love you forever.”

According to the Florida Museum, a school shark, also known as a tope shark, “is a strong swimmer that can travel 35 miles in a day and is found from the open ocean all the way inshore to the surf zone.” Considered a vulnerable species, they can grow to over 6 feet long, and they usually eat smaller bony fish and invertebrates.

Due to its relatively small size and preference for small prey, the school shark is considered harmless to humans. However, according to the International Shark Attack File, one unprovoked attack on a human has been attributed to this species.

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