(MIAMI) — A shark bit a Florida fisherman who was washing his hands off the side of a boat in Everglades National Park.
The man reported the shark attack to officials with the National Park Service on Friday morning, and the park ranger who treated the man said that the injury “was consistent with a shark bite,” according to a statement from an official with Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks. The attack is “extremely uncommon” for the Everglades National Park according to officials.
“The individual stated he had been fishing from a boat in Florida Bay and was washing his hands in the water when the bite occurred,” the statement said.
Video of the attack, which a National Parks official confirmed depicts the incident reported, shows a shark leaping out of the water to bite a fisherman’s hand. The shark appears to pull the man off the boat into the murky water, after which other fishermen rush to pull the injured angler back into the boat.
Miami Dade Fire Rescue transferred the man to a local hospital, where he was treated for his injuries. The fisherman who took the video declined to comment on the incident.
Allyson Gantt, chief of communications and public affairs for Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks, said that the shark in the video was likely a bull shark.
The incident occurred in Florida Bay, a large shallow-water lagoon in southern Florida where freshwater from the Everglades mixes with saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico, according to the University of Florida.
“While shark bites are extremely uncommon in Everglades National Park, we always recommend visitors take caution around park wildlife,” the statement noted.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, bull sharks can travel across both fresh and saltwater bodies. Other Florida fishermen have reported similar interactions with aggressive bull sharks in the area.
Yanni Melissas, a charter boat captain and owner of Boca Grande Fishing Charters, told ABC News that bull sharks sometimes target the fish caught by anglers.
“When a fish is on the line, it gives a chance for a shark that might normally not be able to catch it the ability to catch up with it and attack it, especially if the fish has been on the line for a long time; it can get tired,” Melissas said.
He added that a “few times a year” during his fishing trips, sharks can eat the fish hooked by anglers before they can fully reel it in. On other occasions, sharks “will hide underneath the boat” in wait for when the fishermen release their catches.
“It’s a really scary situation to have a fish as big as you, bigger than you, 150 pounds or 175 pounds, just be devoured at the boat by one or multiple bull sharks that are fighting,” Melissas said.
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