A snorkeler off the coast of southern England suffered a suspected shark bite, officials said Tuesday, in an extremely rare incident.
The Maritime and Coastguard Service said it sent a rescue team to Penzance in Cornwall “to meet a snorkeler who suffered a suspected shark bite” after the accident was reported last Thursday. Local media mentioned it speargun she was a woman.
“The swimmer is believed to have suffered a leg injury,” the coastguard said, adding that the swimmer had been treated by the ambulance service.
A Cornish travel agency which organizes blue shark snorkelling tours has confirmed that one participant had received first aid after an ‘incident’.
Blue sharks, which grow to nearly 13ft in length, are summer visitors to UK waters. They are hunters, migrating through the oceans, eating fish and shellfish.
The blue shark is classified as “almost threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature because it is hunted for its flesh and fins and is also accidentally caught in fishing nets.
Blue Shark Snorkel Trips, based in Penzance, he wrote on Facebook“We had an incident.”
“First aid (was administered) to the person involved.”
“After advice and assessment from the Coast Guard, the person was removed from the vessel and received further treatment ashore,” he added.
The injured person has not been named, but the company said it was a “very scary incident”. However, the person added, “I do not for one moment want this horrific event to tarnish the reputation of an already persecuted species.”
“These incidents are extremely rare,” the company said.
Snorkelers are needed to swim with blue sharks 10 to 20 miles offshore, according to its website.
He warns that blue sharks are “apex predators” with no natural predators and participants “swim with them knowing there is danger”.
Blue shark attacks on humans are extremely rare, according to the British Sea Fishing website. There are four confirmed cases of fatal blue shark attacks on humans and 25 confirmed non-fatal attacks, the website says.
Shark attacksin 2021 after three straight years of declines, officials said in January. The US once again reported the most attacks, and Florida accounted for nearly 40% of unprovoked bites worldwide.
Researchers with the International Shark Attack Archive recorded 73 unprovoked incidents last year, compared to 52 bites in 2020, according to the report.