A man owes his life to his wife, who is pregnant, after a 9-foot bull shark latched onto his shoulder while he was snorkeling in the Florida Keys. Without hesitation, she dove into the water and rescued him.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office reported that 30-year-old Andrew Eddy took his wife, Margot Dukes-Eddy, out to Sombrero Reef on Sept. 20, along with her parents, sister, and sister’s boyfriend. Eddy had just gotten into the water when a huge shark took hold of his shoulder with its jaws.
When Margot saw a shark’s dorsal fin followed by blood filling the water, she acted immediately.
“Dukes, without hesitation, dove into the water and pulled Eddy to the safety of the boat,” Deputy Christopher Aguanno wrote in his report.
When the boat returned to the beach, medics were already waiting on scene to take care of Eddy’s shoulder wound, which police deputies described as “severe.”
“This was a very rare medical crisis for the Florida Keys, but everyone came together—including those witnesses on the boat to 911 Communicators to all our emergency responders—in order to ensure this victim received life-saving care,” said Sheriff Ramsay in a Facebook update.
Eddy was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The family requested privacy, and Eddy’s condition was not made public.
According to reports, there were no boats fishing or chumming the waters nearby, and several snorkelers were out swimming in the same area.
Bull sharks are not uncommon in the Florida Keys, but unprovoked shark bites are rare.
George Burgess, former director of the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File, called shark attacks in the Keys “relatively uncommon.”
The International Shark Attack File reports that since 1882, Monroe County has experienced only 17 unprovoked shark bites. This is a stark contrast with Volusia County, which has earned itself the reputation of “shark bite capital of the world” with 312 unprovoked bites in the same time frame.
“You have different types of activity,” he added. “Different types of sharks and different types of density.”
Surface recreationists, such as swimmers and surfers, are at highest risk for shark attacks. However, it’s still possible to bump into a shark while snorkeling or scuba diving, so it’s best to be aware of the dangers and how to respond in an emergency.
Some sources have speculated that the shark that bit Eddy was a tiger shark and not a bull, but Burgess confirmed that it was likely a bull shark.
Bull sharks account for 20 percent of shark bites in Florida, making them one of the top three species to bite without provocation.
“Bulls are regular inhabitants at that attack site, tigers less so, but still common,” Burgess said.