INJURED – 1-4 September 2010? – Ha’apai islands, Tonga – diver attacked
Bjorn Jensen, 24, was swimming with a group of eight other tourists and two guides off the Ha’apai group of islands in Tonga in the Pacific when he was bitten on the foot by shark. He suffered severe damage to his ankle tendon and big toe, according to reports.
Jensen was on a whale watching diving trip when the attack happened, the exact date of which was not reported except to say that it happened “late last week” which would put it as happening sometime between 1-4 September 2010.
“It’s like four big puncture wounds when it took a bite,” Jensen was quoted as saying from his hospital bed in Auckland.
Jensen said they were all swimming in a line and close to a whale and her calf so weren’t focusing on anything else.
“It was amazing as the mother whale was swimming underneath us and then suddenly I felt this whack on my foot and thought I may have banged into some coral or a whale. I was confused and didn’t know what happened so the guide swam over, and got everyone straight back on the boat,” he said.
Jensen said his foot didn’t hurt because he must have been so pumped with adrenalin and in shock. He didn’t see the shark but one of the others in the snorkelling group told him they saw what they thought was a large shark just before the whales swam towards them, and in the excitement didn’t tell anyone.
“I had blue flippers on, and all the others had yellow ones so mine must have been more tasty looking!”
A doctor from Japan was among the tourists aboard the dive boat. He treated the wound.He was airlifted to hospital in Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa where he underwent surgery to repair his badly damaged ankle tendon, and big toe and was then flown on Saturday 4 September to Auckland Hospital for more specialist surgery.
He said he was told he may lose function in some of his toes.
“I will need more surgery and that includes a skin graft from my leg to my foot as there’s quite a bit of flesh missing.
“But I am lucky to not lose my foot or some toes and don’t believe the shark bite will affect my outdoor activities long term.”
No details regarding the type of shark were reported
New Zealand Press Association
PIC source: NZPA