A 34-year-old woman learned the hard way that feeding sharks by hand is not recommended, after a tawny nurse shark bit her and tried dragging her into the ocean.
The woman survived the ordeal, but she suffered numerous injuries, showing that people should always be careful when there are sharks around.
Shark Bites Woman In Australia, Almost Drags Her Into Water
Melissa Brunning was on a friend yacht's off the coast of Kimberley, Australia, enjoying the "once-in-a-lifetime" trip, when she tried feeding four tawny nurse sharks that were swimming around the boat.
Brunning, however, did not know that she was not supposed to place the fish in front of her and watch the tawny nurse sharks suck it up. Instead, she tried feeding the sharks by hand, resulting in a freak shark bite accident.
The shark sucked Brunning's right index finger into its mouth, which is filled with rows of teeth, then tried pulling her into the water. A mobile video being taken by a friend at the time showed how Brunning screamed as the people on the boat pulled her back, preventing her from falling into the water of Dugong Bay, which was also infested by saltwater crocodiles that can grow as long as 23 feet and weigh as much as a ton.
"I think the shark was in shock as much as I was ... the only way I can describe it is this immense pressure and it felt like it was shredding it off the bone," said Brunning. "I came up and I was like, 'I've lost my finger, my finger's gone'."
Her friends and the crew calmed her down by telling her that her finger was injured, but still there. As it was just the third day of a two-week holiday, Brunning decided to carry on with the trip, hoping that the finger will heal by itself.
By the time doctors took a look at the finger, it was badly infected, alongside a fracture and a torn ligament.
Brunning, however, admitted that the incident was her fault, and that it was not a shark attack.
Surviving Shark Attacks
Brunning was very fortunate to escape the terrifying incident with just those injuries. As more swimmers enter the water this summer, people should know what to do in the case of a real shark attack.
According to experts, the best response against an attacking shark is to fight back, ideally through a punch to the animal's nose or eyes. The worst thing to do would be to play dead, as sharks are also scavengers and will not mind having an easy meal.
People are advised to steer clear of fishing boats, as they leave behind trails of fish and blood that sharks will follow, as well as large groups of fish, seals, or sea lions, which are all shark food. Swimmers are also recommended to go into the water with other people, as sharks usually attack individuals.
Sharks are misunderstood animals, due to their portrayal in fiction. The chances of being attacked by a shark remains small, but it will not hurt to know what to do in case it happens.