Bull Shark Attacks

Home | Category: Humans, Sharks and Shark Attacks


20120518-bull shark Carcharhinus_perezi_at_Roatan2.jpg Bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) are one three species of sharks along with great whites and tiger sharks involved in relatively large numbers of provoked and unprovoked attacks on humans. Bull sharks have accounted for 93 non-fatal attacks and 26 fatal attacks for of total of 119 attacks. Between 1876 and 2001, bull sharks were involved in 69 recorded unprovoked attacks, 17 of them fatal. [Source: International Shark Attack Files, Florida Museum of Natural History, 2023]

Bull sharks are considered the nastiest of all sharks. The have have killed many people and often are found in places where people hang out. Many unreported shark attacks and attacks in which the shark species is not identified are believed to involve bull sharks. They will eat anything that gets in their way and often catch prey in murky water where they can’t see exactly what they are is killing. Bull sharks can be particularly tenacious, as they have the highest measured testosterone of any animal.

According to Animal Diversity Web: Because these sharks reside in shallow coastal waters, they are known to attack humans. They are a very aggressive species and sometimes mistake humans for large prey. They are known to investigate boats in rivers and estuaries. This behavior suggests they are constantly foraging for food and might mistake boats or humans for food.

Websites and Resources: Shark Foundation shark.swiss ; International Shark Attack Files, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida floridamuseum.ufl.edu/shark-attacks ; Tracking Sharks trackingsharks.com, which records all global shark attacks; Animal Diversity Web (ADW) animaldiversity.org; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) noaa.gov; Fishbase fishbase.se ; Encyclopedia of Life eol.org ; Smithsonian Oceans Portal ocean.si.edu/ocean-life-ecosystems

Bull-Shark-Style Hunting and Attacking

20120518-bull shark i_-_Carcharhinus leucas.jpg Nico Booyens, a marine biologist and director of research at the Shark Research Unit in South Africa, told Live Science. "Different shark species have different hunting techniques, but many sharks are solitary predators that rely on their senses of sight, smell and electroreception to locate their prey. When a shark has located its prey, it will often use its sharp teeth and powerful jaws to bite and tear chunks of flesh from the prey. Some sharks, like the tiger shark [Galeocerdo cuvier], are known for their ability to swallow their prey whole, while others, like the bull shark [Carcharhinus leucas], will attack and bite their prey repeatedly until it is weakened or immobilized." [Source: Lydia Smith, Live Science, May 10, 2023]

“Once a bull shark starts an attack, it stays,” Shark expert George Burgess told Shark Sagas. “They have literally been known to chase humans out of the water; they have beached themselves in pursuits. We are more concerned about this kind of animal due to its behavior. It’s not as big as a white shark but it’s much more aggressive.” [Source: Colleen Sharkey, Shark Sagas, June 9, 2013]

Bull sharks favor murky waters to hunt and can swim in both fresh and salt water.Bull sharks have killed several people in rivers and brackish water estuaries in South Africa and have attacked people in Lake Nicaragua in Central America. Some of the attacks in South Africa occurred in shallow swamps were initially they were thought to have been caused by crocodiles because it was considerable impossible for sharks to live there. They may have been responsible for killing four people in a creek in New Jersey in 1916.

Bull Shark Attacks in Australia

In March 2011, Dave Pearson was mauled by a bull shark in the waters of Crowdy Head in New South Wales, Australia. The attack left Pearson with partial mobility in his left arm. In February 2009, Australian Navy diver Paul de Gelder lost an arm and a leg to a male bull shark while training with the Royal Australian Navy in Sydney. De Gelder now travels Australia as a motivational speaker; he told People Magazine in 2014 that he's working to combat the popular misconception that sharks are out to get people.

In March 2012, A surfer has a nasty run in with a bull shark after falling off his board and landing on the predator off of Australia's Gold Coast. The Daily Telegraph reported: The shark, bit Billy O'Leary twice, slicing his flesh down to the bone and severely damaging his Achilles tendon. Mr O'Leary, 20, managed to get himself ashore at Nobbys Beach where friends bound the wound to stem the bleeding. "There were two bites. One is sort of half in his calf, that's taken a big chunk out of that," fellow surfer Tim Windisch told the Gold Coast Bulletin newspaper. "The other one is down to his heel. It's just right down to the bone. You could see the bone." Chief lifeguard Warren Young said it appeared Mr O'Leary landed on the bull shark. "He feels like he perhaps landed on it — he's come off his board and landed on it doing an aerial," Mr Young said. "That's what he's said to us, so maybe he's landed on it and it's reacted. "Being a small shark and the water's a bit discoloured, you're not going to see it." [Source: Daily Telegraph, March 21, 2012]

Range of bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas)

In January 2021, a man was severely injured after being bitten on the leg by a two to three-metre bull shark while swimming in the Swan River in Perth. The Guardian reported: The man in his 50s was attacked at around 8am on Thursday morning at Blackwall Reach, a popular swimming area south of Perth known for its limestone cliffs. A water police vessel was deployed to clear people from the water, and paramedics arrived at the scene at 8.05am and treated the man, including with CPR. He was transported to the Royal Perth hospital at 8.49am as “priority one”, meaning he was in a serious condition. The state’s premier, Mark McGowan, praised the efforts of kayakers to rescue the man. “We haven’t had an attack by a bull shark in the river for 50 years. The last time someone was killed by a bull shark in the river was 100 years ago. So this is unexpected and surprising.” [Source: Naaman Zhou, The Guardian, January 14, 2021]

Woman Ripped Apart by Bull Sharks Near Brisbane

In May 2006, a 21-year-old woman was fatally mauled by as many as three sharks in a regular shark-feeding area off North Stradbroke Island in Queensland, 30 kilometers southeast of Brisbane. The Age reported: Sarah Whiley was swimming with friends at Amity Point when she was mauled to death in a frenzied attack by up to three sharks. Despite the efforts of rescuers, she died later that night at Brisbanes Princess Alexandra Hospital from shock and massive blood loss. Police yesterday indicated they believed a pack of bull sharks was responsible for the horrific attack. [Source: The Age, January 14, 2006]

According to ABC News: The beach was unpatrolled and the day was getting old....Whiley suddenly yelled "shark", her friends and those on the beach thought she was kidding. Josiah Topou was sitting on the beach with his wife and five children when he heard the screams. Hoping her screams were in jest, Mr Topou — with Sarah about 15 meters offshore — ran into the water and swam out thinking if she wasn't kidding, she was drowning or getting attacked by a shark. [Source: Matt Watson, ABC, July 9, 2008]

“If it was a shark though, Mr Topou had a simple plan — aggression against aggression. "Maybe I can divert it a bit because I've heard of people kicking and punching sharks," he said. As Mr Topou drew near he didn't see the sharks. There were three of them nearby, as Sarah thrashed about, bleeding badly. As he gathered her, she looked at him and said two words, "Help me". The slow swim back to the beach must've been the most harrowing 15 meters of Mr Topou's life. Sarah had been mauled by sharks which, having fed and tasted blood could've attacked any moment. "As I was going out I knew there was danger," he said.

On the shore horrified witnesses could see the sharks nearby as Mr Topou carried her slowly through the water. Thankfully the sharks didn't mount another offensive. Maybe they weren't hungry any more, but a pod of dolphins came to Sarah's aid, too. "I was bringing her in — there was actually dolphins between me and Sarah and the sharks were on the other side," he said.

He emerged from the water with Sarah and carried her up the beach, putting her on a towel, using others to cover her wounds. The shark had torn open her torso and bitten off both her hands. She was bleeding madly, telling people to get away. They had to hold her down, did the best they could to comfort her.Sarah was flown to the Royal Brisbane Hospital but died less than an hour after the attack.

Bull Shark Kills 16-Year-Old Girl in Perth’s Swan River

In February 2023, a 16-year-old girl died after being bitten by a bull shark. Police said they were called to the scene of a shark attack about 3:45 p.m. near a traffic bridge in the Swan River, in the Fremantle port area of Perth, where a the girl died at the scene after being pulled to shore. Reuters reported: “The victim had jumped off a jet ski, possibly to swim with a pod of dolphins in the river, when the shark attack occurred, Acting Police Inspector Paul Robinson told reporters at a media briefing. He said authorities were not sure what kind of shark attacked the girl, adding that according to experts, it was unusual for a shark to be that far down the river. DNA tests released a month after the attack confirmed a bull shark was involved in the attack, [Source: Reuters Videos, February 5, 2023; ABC, March 15, 2023]

The Guardian reported: The girl, identified as Stella Berry, was pulled from the water on Saturday afternoon with critical injuries, understood to have been to her legs, but despite the efforts of paramedics she died at the scene. The headmaster of Perth’s Scotch College confirmed that several male students at the school, who were friends of Stella, were with her at the time of the tragedy “and, in that context, were the first respondents”. [Source: Cait Kelly and Eden Gillespie, The Guardian, February 5, 2023]

Fisheries minister, Don Punch, told ABC “We do know that bull sharks, particularly, do enter estuaries and freshwater river systems, so it is likely that may be the case,” He said it was the first fatal shark attack in the Swan River in 100 years, with the last attack in 1923. “There’s only been six recorded historical attacks in the river, and this would make it seven,” he said.

Prof Culum Brown of Macquarie University said bull sharks use estuaries at this time of year to breed.“This time of year the bull sharks are in the river more than normal, it’s the breeding period,” Brown said. “The females move into the river and the males chase them.”Over social media people called for the Western Australia population of bull sharks to be culled, saying they were growing in number. But Brown said this was misinformation, often spread after a fatal shark attack. “There’s actually a probability of extinction; their populations are declining,” Brown said. “There will always be this call to kill the sharks and remove the risk of a shark attack, but in terms of risk you’d be better off not getting your car,” he said.

Bull Shark Attack in Papua New Guinea

On January 21, 2017, Craig DeWit, skipper of the Papua New Guinea-based liveaboard Golden Dawn, was attacked by a 13-foot (4-meter) bull shark while diving in the remote waters of the Torres Strait, between North Queensland and PNG.[Source: Courier Mail, Undercurrent, from the February, 2017]

The Courier Mail reported: It took more than eight hours to get him to a proper hospital for treatment of his severe wounds. "It was a case of mistaken identity," the 54-year-old said, recovering from surgery in Cairns Base Hospital. "It hit me like a truck, it came with such force, out of nowhere. It chomped down, and as it was shaking me I looked into its jaws and eye. It was a big shark." "Its jaws went from my left wrist to the top of my bicep, and into my chest and stomach. I tried to push it away with my right hand, but then it spat me out and swam off. The water was full of blood. I thought I was mortally wounded."

His wife, Camilla, was in the water close by when the attack happened. He suffered injuries to his hand, chest, and stomach. His friend, a trained paramedic who was on board, performed first-aid to stem the bleeding and saved his life. However, it took five hours to reach Murray Island, and bad weather meant it was an additional three hours' wait for a rescue helicopter to evacuate him to the Thursday Island medical center for treatment and then on to Cairns. DeWit has been bitten by a shark before. He says, "Twice bitten, and still not shy. I love sharks; I think they are amazing creatures. The chances of this happening are about the same as being hit by a lightning strike."

Bull Shark Attack in New Caledonia

In late January 2023, a 49-year-old woman suffered multiple injuries after being attacked by a bull shark while swimming at Château-Royal beach, New Caledonia according to the Global Shark Attack File. AFP reported: A shark had viciously attacked 49-year-old local school teacher, Brigitte Soulard. “It was only when I looked down that I realised she had been attacked. She had extensive wounds,” Lance Rae, a witness, said. A man on a stand-up paddle board was nearby at the time and had managed to pull the woman onto his board. As he paddled her into shore, the “massive” shark swam circles around his board, following the heavy trail of blood. .[Source: News.com.au, AFP, February 20, 2023]

Mr Rae’s wife Jane Rae and top Australian surgeon Professor Gary Hoffman were waiting in knee-deep water, but the panicked man was worried the shark might attack them. The shark was still circling, and I just thought ‘I’ve got to get them out’,” he said. Police had arrived but no one was helping. I had to run and get clothing to make a tourniquet.” Mr Rae was so terrified the shark would attack someone else that he asked a responding police officer to execute it. “I could see the shark was coming in, and it was really big, so I said to one of police ‘shoot the shark’, but he wouldn’t,” he recalled. I said, ‘give me your gun and I’ll do it’ … it kept coming in and I just couldn’t believe how big it was, but he wouldn’t shoot it.”

Mr Rae managed to grab the front of the paddle board and pull it into the sand, safe from the shark. “It was the most horrific thing. It’s something you wouldn't want to witness,” he said. Given the extent of her injuries, having had a large bite taken from her buttock and losing an enormous volume of blood, he said it was incredible she had survived. Mrs Soulard was understood to have since been transferred to Westmead Private Hospital in Sydney where she has been receiving treatment for her extensive injuries.

Bull Shark Attacks in Florida

In August 2000, Thadeus Kubinski, who was attacked and killed by a 200-kilogram bull shark in St. Petersburg, Florida. Kuninski was taking his daily swim. He was killed after he jumped off his dock and landed near the feeding 2.5-meter shark. An American woman who was attacked by an 8-foot bull shark in October 1993, told Time, "It felt like a truck had slammed into me, then I felt a compacting squeeze and an actual burning in my left leg.” The shark spun her around and then left and the woman was able to make it to shore.

In 1999, 43-year-old Michael Knowles, an avid diver says a seven-foot bull shark bit him near the Middle Keys as he tried to swim along with a pod of dolphins. Knowles, who was in the Keys for the lobster mini-season, told the U.S. Coast Guard he was cruising on a friend's 23-foot motor boat about two miles off Key Colony Beach when he spotted the dolphins. As soon as he jumped in to join the dolphins, Knowles saw a bull shark and tried to ward it off by kicking its head. At the same time he said another shark chomped his other leg, leaving five one-inch cuts just above his ankle. Doctors later sewed up the gashes. Sharks often hang around with pods of dolphins, with both species looking for fish to eat in the early evening hours. [Source: St. Peterburg Times]

On July 6, 2001, a 7.4-foot, 200-pound bull shark tore off the arm of an 8-year-old boy in Pensacola Florida. The shark attacked in waist deep water and took a bite of the boy's arm and thigh during the first pass. The shark then clamped onto his arm. While people on the beach wrestled with the shark it ripped the boy’s arm off. One man then pulled the shark ashore and shot it four times in the head, pried open the mouth with baton and reached in pulled out the boy's arm. The boy and his arm were rushed to the hospital. The arm, which was ripped off four inches from the shoulder, was reattached but the loss of blood left the boy near death and caused brain damage. The boy remained in a light coma when he was released from the hospital five weeks after the attack.

In August 2022, a 10-year-old boy had his leg amputated after he was attacked by a shark in the Florida Keys. USA TODAY reported: Jameson Reeder Jr. was snorkeling while on vacation with family when the "very traumatic event occurred," Jameson's uncle, Joshua Reeder, wrote in a Sunday Facebook post. The family believes an 8-foot bull shark attacked and bit Jameson below his knee, Reeder wrote. His family rushed to rescue Jameson, who was staying afloat on a swimming noodle, and "tourniqueted his leg above the bite to slow/stop the bleeding." [Source: Wyatte Grantham-Philips, USA TODAY, August 16, 2022]

Soon, a nearby boat came to help Jameson to shore. A helicopter then airlifted him to the hospital, Reeder added. At the hospital, Jameson had to have his leg amputated below his knee due to the shark bite, Reeder said. But he survived. "They arrived safely to the hospital and swung into action right away. They had to remove/amputate from just below the knee to save his life as it was not operable from the damage the shark had caused," Reeder wrote. "They said the shark made the decision for him and wasn’t anything they could do to save it. But his life was spared. Thank you Yeshua/Jesus!!!"

Three Bull Shark Attacks in One Week in Florida

In June and July 2005 there were three shark attacks in a week in Florida. In June 2005, a 14-year-old girl,Jamie Daigle, died after she and friend were attacked by a bull shark while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico near Destin on the Florida Panhandle. The teenagers were swimming on boogie boards about 100 meters of shore when the shark attacked. She bled to death presumably before she reached the beach.

A man who was surfing at the time said he saw a dark shadow in the water and then found Daigle in the center of a bloody circle of water, with much of her thigh missing and the bone exposed. The girl had started swimming towards the shore. The man put her girl on his board and swam to the shore. He said the shark was about 2.5 meters long and probably a bull shark and it tried to grab Daigle’s hand. “He just followed us right on the beach,” the man aid. He said he punched the shark in the nose when it attacked him. “He was determined to finish lunch, I hate to put it that way, but that was what he was trying to do,” he said.

Two days later a 16-year-old boy fishing in waist deep water in the Gulf of Mexico, off Cape San Blas near Panama City, 80 miles southeast of Destin, was bitten so badly his leg had to be amputated. The boy was fishing with two friends. He was bitten in the right thigh, nearly severing his leg. In the third attack, an Austrian tourist was bitten in the leg as he stood in ankle-deep water in the Gulf of Mexico near the lighthouse at Gasparilla Island beach. The tourist was airlifted to a hospital and had surgery to repair some ligaments, tendons and blood vessels. It is thought these attacks too were carried out by bull sharks.

Spearfisherman Severely Mauled by Bull Shark in Florida

In April 2011, Anthony Segrich was attacked by a four-meter (12-foot) bull shark while he was scuba diving off a Florida beach. "When I looked down, I just saw the head and it just kept biting and biting and biting,'' Segrich said. ''Blood turns green underwater so the whole thing exploded green. The first bite goes across the knee through the kneecap all the way around and then down across the ankle...It would've eaten me, if my friends weren't there," said Anthony."

CBS News Miami reported: Segrich was spearfishing with his buddies hunting Cobia and Grouper. He'd done that for years, but this dive was different. Something was hunting him. "And at that point, I kind of thought I needed to look down and see if anything else was going on, that's when I saw the bull shark coming straight up," said Anthony. Video from the dive shows sharks emerging from the murky waters. Most went away, but one bull shark went straight for Anthony. "And it was one of the strangest sensations, it's very difficult to describe, but I mean, you knew you were being eaten by something," said Anthony. "Each time it opened its mouth to readjust its bite, I pushed it a little bit further off and eventually it let go of the leg," said Anthony. "At that point, it was just hanging in a cloud of blood." [Source:CBS News Miami, February 26, 2012]

Anthony used his gun line, with a fish still attached, and wrapped it around his leg to stop some of the bleeding, but he had to move quickly. The blood was attracting more sharks. Anthony's friend grabbed him and swam to the surface. "By the time we hit the water, the surface, everything was red, it was just bubbles, boiling red, it looked like something out of the movies," said Anthony.

Anthony's attack happened about two and a half miles off shore, so his buddies brought him to Riviera Beach. The ambulance was waiting and it took about half an hour to get him to the hospital. "They looked at the wound and basically my leg was open from the knee to the ankle. I mean, they could see the arteries," said Anthony. Six days after leaving the hospital, Anthony was back in the water spearfishing. "There's definitely an adrenaline rush," said Anthony. Today, after 190 stitches, Anthony walks with a limp. Day by day, he's growing back muscle and nerves. He carries around one reminder: a piece of his wetsuit from the day time stood still.

13-Year-old Girl Fights Off a Bull Shark After Being Bitten Three Times

In May 2023, a 13-year-old girl fought off what she believes was a four-foot bull shark after the shark bit her several times, leaving her injured and bleeding and requiring stitches, at North Jetty Beach in Fort Pierce, Florida. Business Insider reported: Ella Reed was in the ocean by North Hutchinson Island when she was attacked, WPTV reported. "It went straight to me and got my stomach first, and I tried blocking it with my arm and my hand, and it kind of slipped in and got my finger and my arm, and it swooped around and got my leg again," she said. "It didn't really hurt at first because of all the adrenaline ... we were so shocked." [Source: Alia Shoaib, Business Insider, May 13, 2023]

Reed ran out of the water and was driven home by a friend in a golf cart. Her mother, Devin Reed, told WPTV that, at first, she thought it was a prank. Once they realized a shark had attacked her, they took her to the hospital, where she was given stitches. Her mother said she was impressed by how calm her daughter remained throughout the ordeal. "There was blood everywhere, and she was more of a trooper than anyone else. We were all just shocked that it even happened, Devin Reed said. Ella Reed told the outlet that the experience would not stop her from swimming in the ocean, and she planned to get back in the water as soon as her stitches were out.

Ella sustained three bites — one on her torso, leg and finger. Treasure Coast Newspapers reported: She was in waist-high water with her friend when she felt the first bite on her torso. Ella told her friend to get to shore while she tried to fight the shark off. "The shark just kept on getting me, so I started trying to hit it with both my arms; both my arm and my hand got kind of bit," said Ella, 13. "I tried to get away and then it just came back and bit my leg." Once she reached the shore after the shark bite, Ella called her brother on FaceTime to let him know she was bitten. Her mom heard her on the call and thought she was joking until Ella panned the camera down to show them her bloody wounds, she said. "I got her off the golf cart, wrapped her in the towel, put her in the back seat of my car and hauled butt to the fire station because she was literally covered in blood. I really didn't know the magnitude of it at the time," said Devin Reed, Ella's mom. Fire rescue workers took Ella to HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital, where she was treated for her injuries and released. "It's not as painful as I thought it would be," Ella said. [Source: Gianna Montesano,Treasure Coast Newspapers, May 14, 2023]

Savage Bull Shark Attacks in Alabama

In June 2000, two men training for a triathlon were attacked by a two-meter (7-foot) bull shark in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Gulf Shores Alabama,. In the first bite of the first attack the shark bit off the fingertips of 44-year-old Chuck Anderson. "The fourth time, my right arm went into his mouth, and we went down to the bottom," Anderson said. “The shark kept biting until the man heard the bone snap and break off,” Anderson then swam to shore with one arm. It was the first unprovoked shark attack in Alabama waters in 25 years. [Source: New York Times, Associated Press, June 12, 2000]

Confronted by a shark that had already sheared his friend’s arm, 55-year-old Richard Watley knew he had the fight of his life. It came up under me, and I looked down and saw him staring me right in the face. I thought, 'I'm going to die,' and I decided I wasn't going to die without a fight,'' Watley said.

Anderson lost his right arm a few inches below the elbow and Watley was bitten all the way up the right side of his body. “It hit Chuck first. I didn't even know what was going on,'' Watley said. The shark chased Anderson all the way to shore, then came after Watley, who was about 25 to 30 meters (80 to 100 feet) out. He had seen Anderson stagger out of the water but thought he had just run into some jellyfish. “It bit my thigh and would have taken a chunk out of me, but I hit it again,'' Watley said. I thought it might leave me alone, but it came at me again and again. I would punch him, he would retreat, and then I would swim as fast as I could for about 5 to 10 seconds, but then I would have to turn around and face him again. He chased me all the way to shore.''

In April 2022, a teen was bitten by a bull shark in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Shark Tracker reported: Blake Berry, 17, was swimming with a friend in chest-deep water when he felt clamp-like pressure on his right foot. Stunned, he stood there for a few seconds before checking what he thought was a minor wound. Once he exited the water, he realized it was a significant injury. Emergency services were called, and he was treated on the beach before being taken to the hospital. Thankfully, the bite missed a major artery by a quarter of an inch, and he was able to leave the hospital with around 60 stitches.

In July 2020 another teen was bitten by a shark in Alabama. Maximus Chilton was swimming with his father and brother off Orange Beach when he was bitten on his foot. The group was looking for shells on the sandbar when the waters began to fill with large 2- to 3-foot-long fish. Feeling weird, the group decided to swim the 80 to 100 yards back to shore. Max, who was the first to leave the sandbar, felt something grab his right foot. His dad looked to see a 4- to 5-foot shark swim away. [Source: Kevin McMurray, Shark Tracker, April 19, 2022]

Shark Expert Seriously Bitten by Bull Shark in Bahamas

April 2002, a shark expert known for unusual research methods and "pushing the envelope" in his studies was badly bitten by a shark in the Bahamas. Dr Erich Ritter, chief scientist for the Global Shark Attack File, based in Princeton, New Jersey, was bitten in the calf by a 350lb bull shark during filming of a Discovery Channel program off Walker’s Cay. "It was a serious injury," said Marie Levine, executive director of the Shark Research Institute in Princeton.

Mr Ritter, 43, was bitten in murky, waist-deep water as he worked with lemon, black-tip and bull sharks, Ms Levine said. The bull shark was chasing a remora fish and bit Mr Ritter by accident. "There was food in the water about 15 yards from Erich. A bull shark closed on the remora but in the low visibility bit Erich instead."

The shark’s teeth went to the bone and Mr Ritter was rushed to a hospital in Florida, where he underwent an arterial graft. "They were really pushing the envelope," Ms Levine said. "This is one of those things that can happen when you’re working with big animals."

But Sam Gruber, a University of Miami shark expert who worked with Mr Ritter in the 1990s, said his methods were scorned and called him "an accident waiting to happen". "He has been getting more and more fearless, or some would say bold. This method is basically to titillate TV cameras. He wants to impress people that he can control these sharks and they will never bite him."

In February 2008, an Austrian tourist diving without a cage in chummed waters in the Bahamas was bitten in the leg by a bull shark. He died of blood loss the next day. It was the first death attributed to shark feeding.

Bull Shark Kills U.S. Cruise Passenger in Bahamas

In September 2022, a U.S. cruise ship passenger was killed by a bull shark while snorkelling near the Bahamas. The BBC reported: The 58-year-old woman from Pennsylvania was on an excursion near Green Cay near Nassau when the incident took place. Police later said that the family identified the shark as a bull shark. A similar incident in the area took the life of a 21-year-old American in 2019. [Source: Bernd Debusmann Jr, BBC, September 7, 2022

Family members and tour company staff saw her being attacked and managed to pull her from the water. A local news outlet, Eyewitness News, quoted Ms Skippings as saying that the victim suffered wounds to her "upper extremities". The victim was declared dead by authorities after being taken to shore. Her cruise ship, the Harmony of the Seas, was docked in Nassau at the time of the attack. It had just begun its seven day cruise of the western Caribbean from Port Canaveral in Florida on 4 September.

The incident is the first fatal shark attack in the Bahamas since 2019, when a 21-year-old woman from California was attacked by sharks near Rose Island, about half a mile (0.8km) away from the 2022 attack. In another recent incident, an eight-year-old British boy was injured after being attacked by three sharks in another part of the Bahamas. His father later told The Sun that the attack "was like a scene out of Jaws".

Image Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Mostly National Geographic articles. Also the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, Natural History magazine, Discover magazine, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated March 2023

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of country or topic discussed in the article. This constitutes 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you are the copyright owner and would like this content removed from factsanddetails.com, please contact me.