Boca Raton, Florida – A 23-year-old woman was bitten on Sunday by a small nurse shark and transported to the hospital in Boca Raton with the animal still attached to her arm. Emergency responders were not able to remove the already-dead shark at the scene.
The animal was a 2-foot-long nurse shark and bit the woman’s arm as a group of people with her were seen antagonizing the animal, according to beach-goers at the south end of the park. The incident occurred in 1400 N. Ocean Blvd., as reported by the Sun Sentinel.
The first responder at the scene was the local lifeguard, which called for backups and the superior in charge asked for help from the Boca Raton fire department. The woman, whose name was not released, was taken to the hospital by the emergency responders and is currently in stable condition waiting to be released in the afternoon, according to spokesman Robert Lemons.
At the moment of the fire department’s arrival, the small animal was already dead but still attached to the woman’s arm. The responders did not see another choice but to transport the girl with the animal as well.
The woman remained calm and there was little blood in her arm. A split board was used to support the woman’s arm and the shark as she lay on the stretcher, as reported by the Washington post.
Holding the animal
According to Nate Pachter, 11, a visitor at the beach, he and his cousin were snorkeling when they saw a group holding the shark by its tail and messing with it.
“Sharks are like the most humane thing ever,” Nate told the Sun Suntinel, as he sat with his family on the beach. “So it would not bite them if they had not been messing with it,” the boy added.
Nurse sharks are very common in offshore Florida waters and are able to grow up to 14 feet in length, although this was just 2 feet. These animals can breathe while remaining still by pumping water through their mouths and out their gills and sometimes are seen stationary on the ocean floor, researchers said.
People often swim near nurse sharks 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 a fisherman antagonizing the shark with hook, spear, net or hand, the agency added.
Source: Sun Sentinel