A Florida woman was bitten by a shark was an alarming sight for beachgoers as she walked out of the water. And no matter what she did, the 2-foot shark refused to release its bite. Even when it died while on the woman’s arm.
Paramedics ultimately took the victim to Boca Raton Regional Hospital on Sunday afternoon, according to Boca Raton Ocean Rescue. She was in stable condition, officials said.
“The shark wouldn’t give up,” said Shlomo Jacob, of Boca Raton, among the beachgoers who looked on. “It was barely breathing but it wasn’t letting go of her arm, like it was stuck to her or something.”
As the woman was bitten by the shark, swimmers scampered out of the water, suddenly unsure of what other dangers may lurk. Ocean Rescue Capt. Clint Tracy saw the shark still on the woman’s arm as they were put into an ambulance at Red Reef Park. “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.
Nate Pachter, 11, of Boca Raton, said he and his cousin were snorkeling when he saw the group “holding the shark by its tail. They were messing with it.”
“Sharks are like the most humane thing ever,” Nate said later, as he sat with his parents on the beach. “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, revealing that she had been bitten. The shark was still attached to her.
The woman remained calm, and there was little blood, according to Tracy. That’s when 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, so she couldn’t be reached for comment.
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.
The woman was bitten by a nurse shark, which 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.