By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
AN American man survived a shark bite in Abaco last week just days before an American woman was killed, raising further concerns about possible chum dumping in Bahamian waters.
Jonathan Hernandez, the victim, told NBC reporters he blames shark-feeding for his attack.
“They’re associating humans with getting food, and it’s making it very dangerous to be in the water, whether you’re spearing or you just happen to be snorkeling near where they’re feeding them,” he said.
Mr Hernandez said he is a professional boat captain, fisherman and an experienced diver who was spearfishing with friends off Abaco when he was attacked.
“I got hit so hard from behind I thought the boat had run me over,” he said. “I immediately looked to the left side and the shark was right in my face.”
He was bitten on his left calf but successfully swam to safety.
“I was able to get away, kicking away,’’ he said. “I looked in the water, and I could see in the water that my calf was hanging and gushing blood into the water.
“It all happened so fast it was kind of a blur of whitewater and fins and thrashing.”
Mr Hernandez’s friends quickly made a tourniquet for his calf out of weight belts used for diving.
“The fact that the tourniquet went on between 60 and 90 seconds of the actual attack was probably the single biggest factor and why I’m sitting here talking to you today,’’ he said. He told NBC it will be six weeks before he can begin physical therapy on his “shredded” left calf.
Meanwhile, the family of Jordan Lindsey, the 21-year-old killed after a shark attack last week, has raised $71,354 on GoFundMe to take care of expenses resulting from her death. She was attacked by sharks while snorkeling off the coast of Rose Island. Her right arm was ripped off and the sharks bit her other arm and both legs, among other areas.
Dr Erich Ritter, a shark expert, told the Associated Press the behaviour of sharks in her death incident was abnormal. He said it may have been triggered by nearby chum dumping and added that the snorkeling company should have monitored the area better. It remains unclear which snorkeling company Lindsey was involved with. However, The Tribune understands the government has received reports about chum dumping in the area of the incident, a matter that will be examined as part of the overall investigation into Lindsey’s death.
The Bahamas has traditionally averaged several shark attacks per year. Lindsey’s death was the first confirmed shark-related death since 2008.