Fortunately, the man was uninjured during the encounter
A man spearfishing off the coast of Pensacola Beach, Florida, got quite the New Year's Day surprise when he was attacked by a mako shark. Fortunately, he was not injured as the shark only managed to chomp down on his fin and not his foot.
Chad Patti was enjoying the last dive of the day when the mako took a swipe at him.
“We knew that we needed to leave at 2:30 p.m., latest 3 p.m., that way we could get back before dark,” Patti told wkrg.com. “The [fish] were about 150 feet from me and I was waiting. I did a dive about 70 feet because I saw a wahoo, and when I came back up, I started looking around trying to see if I could get that one last fish. I started to swim forward and get ready to ask another question and then as soon as I open my mouth the shark blindsides me.”
Patti says he’s encountered sharks in the past and even had them try to steal fish, but he’s never been attacked.
“I was the prey; there was no mistaken identity,” Patti said. “It’s not like he bumped me checking me out. He crushed my fin. You can see he has the fin in his mouth, and you can see his jaw and gills tense up. Later in the video you can see he still has a piece of the fin in his mouth, trying to figure out if it is food or not.”
Patti said he learned what to do during a shark encounter while training to dive out in the ocean.
“You want to treat it like a stray dog,” Patti said. “If you take off running, a stray dog is always going to take off after you. If you see a shark, don’t take your eyes off of it. You can tell by certain shark behavior, if he starts flexing, he could get aggressive. We just never saw this one, period. We were drifting on this spot for about an hour with three guys in the water, and I just happened to be the last diver to get out. We’ve thought back on the incident to see if there was something we would do different and all we can say is dive in teams of two.”
Stephanie Mallory is a mom, a hunter and Realtree’s PR Coordinator. She’s here to deliver an insider’s look at the outdoor business and give her opinion on all things outdoors—whether you asked for it or not.