Florida man survives being bitten by sharks in 'feeding frenzy' after falling off boat in Bahamas

ByStephanie Ramos ABCNews logo
Friday, May 10, 2024
Florida man speaks out about what he says saved him after shark attack in Bahamas
A Florida man is recovering after being bitten by not one - but two sharks - after falling into the water in the Bahamas

A Florida man is recovering after being bitten by not one - but two sharks - after falling into the water in the Bahamas. Now, he's sharing his terrifying story of survival.

"Next second, I'm in the water with, you know, a lot of sharks. I knew immediately, I gotta get back in the boat or this is gonna be really bad," said Marlin Wakeman.

The 24-year-old was on a fishing trip in the southern Bahamas late last month when he fell into the water.

"I was still holding on to the boat when I got bit," Wakeman recalled.

Wakeman says the waters in Clarencetown's Flying Fish Marina are infested with dozens of sharks, and is known as a popular spot to clean fish and throw scraps.

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"These sharks have learned that there is regular amounts of food being tossed into the ocean here from these fishermen," said Ron Magill, director of communications & wildlife expert at Zoo Miami. "When they get into that feeding frenzy, they're out there to compete against other sharks. They want to get as much food as they can as quickly as they can."

"When I was underwater it was, you know, two seconds. And mainly the worst thing I thought was, you know, I don't want to get eaten by 10 sharks," Wakeman said.

Wakeman was stitched up in the Bahamas and flew back home to Florida the next day. Doctors believe the shark was at least seven feet long and his wound is over a foot long. It just missed his artery.

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"The fact that there's 20 sharks in there and you were able to get out of there and still have a leg is amazing," said Dr. Robert Borrego, a trauma surgeon at St. Mary's Medical Center.

"I realized, you know, how lucky I got," Wakeman said. "It was just, you know -- thanking my angels."

Wildlife experts say if you do end up in the water and there are sharks, obviously, try to get out as quickly as possible. But experts also say to fight. Punch the shark in the nose since it is a sensitive area and can often deter an animal.