HomeWorld NewsWoman escapes shark by punching it on nose off Florida coast

Woman escapes shark by punching it on nose off Florida coast

Photograph: Image Source/Alamy

A lady punched a 6ft shark within the face till it let go of her foot, which it bit whereas she snorkeled off the Dry Tortugas, islands off the coast of Florida.

Heather West, 42 and from Texas, told the Daily Mail the lemon shark “kept tugging and tugging, and I could feel its teeth in my ankle”.

Related: Emperors of the Deep by William McKeever review – how sharks are misunderstood

Lemon sharks can develop to 11ft and inhabit coastal waters, near swimmers, surfers and divers. But they current little menace to people.

According to the International Shark Attack File, on the University of Florida, earlier than West’s encounter there had been solely 10 unprovoked assaults by lemon sharks, all in Florida and the Caribbean, none deadly.

“Caution is still warranted as they are a large predatory species,” the ISAF says.

In any yr, the US accounts for about half of unprovoked shark assaults worldwide. The overwhelming majority should not deadly. Most bites are exploratory. Sharks eat seals, turtles and fish. Sustained assaults on people leading to fatalities, as in Sydney, Australia this week, are more likely to be instances of mistaken identity.

In a latest e-book, Emperors of the Deep: Sharks, the Ocean’s Most Mysterious, Most Misunderstood and Most Important Guardians, George Burgess, a University of Florida professor and ISAF organiser, tells writer William McKeever: “The major reason more attacks are in the United States is we’ve got a very large coastline … and of course lots of people.

“And we are also a nation of some wealth and means, and so we can afford to spend time at the beach. And of course many areas of the country are heavy tourist areas.”

West lives in a van, touring the US and updating an Instagram account. She instructed the Mail she was heading again to shore when the lemon shark bit her.

“I was wearing flippers and my kick wasn’t doing much damage,” she stated, “so I decided to lean forward and start punching it.

“I punched it in the face over and over again as hard as I possibly could, and after about 30 seconds it finally let go.

“For the next two minutes I was in complete shock and couldn’t swim, but by this point my friends had ran back in the water to help me.”

The Dry Tortugas are house to a Nineteenth-century fort – where Samuel Mudd, a health care provider who handled the person who killed Abraham Lincoln, was as soon as imprisoned – however little else.

Fortunately for West, two park rangers have been close by, setting traps for rats. They helped apply tourniquets to her leg and get her to the mainland for remedy.

Related: Marine scientists call for calm after swimmer killed by shark in Sydney

West stated: ‘When I got to the shore I just started screaming ‘I won, I won’, as a result of I realised I nonetheless had my foot.

‘In the water I was convinced he’d bitten it off, so seeing it nonetheless there, though it was utterly mangled, was an enormous reduction.”

On Instagram, West shared footage of the chew and its aftermath and said docs in Key West instructed her she would in all probability regain full use of her foot.

The shark, she stated, may need been the identical one sighted in comparable waters earlier, attempting to eat a pelican.

West stated: “Despite all of this, I want the record to show that I love sharks, and don’t want to discourage people from getting in the water. As a matter of fact I’ll be right back in as soon as I heal up.”



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