Shark researcher Dr Kirk Gastrich, 29, was bitten on the left forearm while ushering a six-foot lemon shark toward the boat he and two other researchers were using in the Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.
Dr Gastrich is a marine biologist at Florida International University.
According to media reports the shark moved erratically and bit him on his left forearm.
The other two researchers applied basic first aid to the victim after the shark bite; when they returned to the Flamingo Marina, park rangers administered additional first aid to the bite.
He was then airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital and was reported in a stable condition and expected to make a full recovery.
FIU director of Environment and Society Dr Michael Heithaus, said: The waters were really murky. He was actually back near the tail of the animal and he didn’t see it move, and it reared up, and normally you’d be way out of the way, and he just didn’t see it coming.
“Next thing you know, it bit him and wouldn’t let go of his elbow.”
Heithaus said Gastrich was researching sharks at the mouth of Shark River near Bailey Key, just west of the Florida Keys. He explained: “We bring him up next to the boat and let them swim slowly forward because that usually keeps them calm. We collect small tissue samples from them because that let us know what they are eating. We put a tag in the dorsal fin so we know where the individual is and we can measure it later. We get measurements of its length and then we let them go.”
According to officials, the bite cannot be considered an attack, since the victim was conducting research. Linda Friar of Everglades National Park said, “You never know when you’re dealing with wild animals, whether they’re in the water or on land, how they may respond to research. Usually, they’re very cautious and careful. What they do with the shark research, from what I understand, is they bring the shark close to the boat and they try and measure them for size. I don’t know exactly what they were doing at the time, but this particular shark, apparently, did not appreciate it.”
7 News (early)