Video shows shark grabbing man’s hand, pulling him off boat in Everglades

Author: Li Cohen / CBS
Published: Updated:
everglades shark
Drone image of Florida Everglades. Credit; via WINK News.

Usually, the Florida Everglades brings fear and caution around snakes and alligators. But a new video has emerged showing another reason for caution – sharks in the land of swamps. 

The video, shared on the Instagram account @Florida, shows a man in a white hoodie bending down over a boat to rinse his hands in the water. Someone off-screen tells him “I wouldn’t put your hands in there” – but he argues that “two seconds won’t do anything” and proceeds to put his hands in the water. 

Then all of a sudden, he screams as he yanks his hand out of the water – with a shark attached. 

There are a few seconds of struggle and a small amount of blood from his hand is seen hitting the side of the boat as the man falls overboard. He quickly gets back on the boat and the incident seems to be over. 

The Instagram account shares a quote from Michael Russo, who was on the boat during the encounter. Russo said that they rushed his friend, identified as Nick, back to land and park rangers helped him get airlifted to the hospital. 

“Today was one of the scariest days on the water I have ever had. It started off great and we were crushing the fish but the sharks were eating some, despite our best efforts,” he’s quoted as saying. “After releasing a snook, Nick washed his hands in the water and was immediately bit by a large [lemon] shark. There was no chum or blood in the water and the sharks were unprovoked.”

In the Everglades, he said, “sharks are no joke.” 

“The warnings about keeping your hands out of the water are not an exaggeration,” Russo said. 

A spokesperson for the Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks told CBS News that the incident happened on the morning of June 23. Those involved told national park officials that they had been fishing in Florida Bay, which sits between the mainland and the Florida Keys, when they had started to wash their hands in the bay’s water.

The spokesperson confirmed that the man’s injury was consistent with a shark bite, but said it was unclear what species was responsible. 

“While shark bites are extremely uncommon in Everglades National Park, we always recommend visitors take caution around park wildlife,” the spokesperson told CBS News. 

It’s unclear what specific kind of shark bit the man’s hand, but it has been speculated to be either a lemon shark or a bull shark. Lemon sharks are known to live in estuaries and the nearshore waters of both Florida coasts, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife, as are bull sharks. 

CBS News has reached out to Everglades National Park for comment and more information. 

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