Monday, 16 May 2016

Pictured: Woman taken to hospital with shark attached to her arm

Image Credit: Marriott Florida

A woman who went out to the beach on May 14, got more than what she bargained for, when she was bitten by a shark at the beach in Boca Raton near the 1400 block of North Ocean, in Florida.

It was an alarming sight for beach-goers when a woman walked out of the water with a nurse shark biting a meaty portion of her right forearm.

And no matter what she did, the 2-foot shark refused to release its bite. Even when it died.

Small nurse shark bites woman in Boca Raton
Courtesy Boca Raton Fire Rescue

Paramedics ultimately took the woman — with the dead shark still attached to her arm — to Boca Raton Regional Hospital on Sunday afternoon, according to Boca Raton Ocean Rescue.

The woman was in stable condition, officials said.

As the commotion unfolded, swimmers scampered out of the water, suddenly unsure of what other dangers may lurk.

Ocean Rescue Capt. Clint Tracy saw the woman and the shark as they were put into an ambulance at Red Reef Park about 1:30 p.m. "I have never seen anything like it," Tracy said. "Never even heard of anything like this."

Beachgoers said one or more people were antagonizing the nurse shark in the water. Tracy, the Ocean Rescue captain, said he didn't know how the woman came in contact with it.

Another witness said he saw the group "holding the shark by its tail. They were messing with it."

"Sharks are like the most humane thing ever, so it wouldn't bite them if they hadn't been messing with it."

It was about 1:20 p.m. when the woman, in a turquoise-colored two-piece, appeared near Lifeguard Station No. 8, with the shark attached to her.

The woman remained calm, and there was little blood, according to Tracy.

A male companion was by the woman's side holding the shark, but as the minutes passed and the crowd grew, she became unsettled. When paramedics arrived, they gave her oxygen, witnesses said.

A splint board was used to support the woman's arm and the shark as she was placed on the stretcher to take her to the hospital, Tracy said.

The woman's name hasn't been released.

Lifeguard Dylan Narcowich was on duty in Tower No. 8 and responded. He said he previously had seen the woman and her companion swimming near a submerged rock pile about 60 feet from shore.

"There's a rock pile where she was at and there are two more over there where they kind of hang out," said Narcowich, referring to the sharks that occasionally swim near the submerged formations.

Nurse sharks are common in offshore Florida waters and can grow up to 14 feet in length.

They are able to breathe while remaining still by pumping water through their mouths and out their gills, and are sometimes seen stationary on the ocean floor, according to researchers.

They are also known for having strong jaws filled with thousands of tiny, serrated teeth.

"Knowingly or not, people swim near nurse sharks every day without incident," according to the National Park Service. "Attacks on humans are rare but not unknown and a clamping bite typically results from a diver or fisherman antagonizing the shark with hook, spear, net or hand.

"The bite reflex is such that it may be some minutes before a quietly re-immersed nurse shark will relax and release its tormentor," according to a National Park Service brochure prepared for visitors to Florida waters. "The small teeth seldom penetrate deeply but are razor sharp.

"Holding still reduces damage to both shark and man. Leaving sharks alone is the best tactic."

Culled from Chicago Tribune