A 23-year-old woman was swimming at a beach at Red Reef Park in Boca Raton with a group of friends when a nurse shark, about 60 centimetres long, latched onto her right forearm on Sunday and bit into it without letting go. According to Boca Raton Fire Rescue, they got a call at approximately 1:20 p.m. on Sunday,saying someone had been bitten by a shark.
By the time the fire crew got to the scene, the shark had already been killed by beach goers who were trying to help the woman. The firefighters tried to remove the shark were unable to remove it from the woman’s arm.
A spokesperson for the Boca Raton Ocean Rescue told reporters that woman remained calm while she was been held and that there was a little blood. A splint board was used to support the woman’s arm and the shark as she lay on the stretcher. She was taken to the hospital with the shark still attached to her arm.
“I have never seen anything like it. Never even heard of anything like this,” Boca Raton Ocean Rescue Captain Clint Tracy told the Sun-Sentinel news organisation in Florida.
Nurse sharks have strong jaws filled with tiny, serrated teeth which they use to crush food, including shellfish and coral. They will bite defensively if stepped on or antagonised, but are generally considered harmless to humans.
An 11-year-old boy told the Sun-Sentinel that, before the woman was bitten, he saw a group of people “holding the shark by its tail. They were messing with it.”
The woman was taken to Boca Regional Hospital. She was in stable condition.