Fisherman Survives Shark Attack at a Marina in the Bahamas

Don’t read this article if you’re scared of sharks. Marlin Wakeman, a 24-year-old fisherman and charter boat deckhand, recently fell into water infested with 20 sharks—and lived to tell the story.

On Friday, April 26, he was at the Flying Fish Marina in the Bahamas. Sharks are known to congregate at the marina and feed on fish scraps thrown from the docks and fishing boats. That day, a large group of sharks was swimming around the docked boats, looking for an easy meal.

“Me and my buddies were talking about [how], ‘Man, if you fell in here, you are done,’” Wakeman said at a recent press conference. And that’s exactly what happened to Wakeman. His foot slipped as he was jumping from the dock onto a boat. He fell into the water with at least 20 sharks. A 7-foot Caribbean reef shark quickly sunk its teeth into Wakeman’s left leg.

“I ended up in a shark den…I wasn’t really scared at the moment. I just knew I had to get out as quickly as possible,” said Wakeman. “I was pulling myself back in, and [the shark] grabbed my leg and pulled me underwater.”

After a short struggle, Wakeman was able to start pulling himself up onto the dock despite also being attacked by a second shark, which grazed his right leg. Once he made it out of the water, his boat’s captain tied a tourniquet to his leg and sent him to the nearest medical clinic.

“It was a lot of pressure, but I didn’t feel any sharpness [at first]. You don’t really feel the teeth going into you,” said Wakeman, who noted the worst pain came on the ride to the clinic. “That was the first time I’ve ever passed out strictly from pain, so yeah, it hurt really, really bad.”

After his wounds were stitched up, Wakeman was flown to West Palm Beach for treatment at St. Mary’s Medical Center by Dr. Robert Borrego, who’s an expert at treating shark attack victims.

“It shocks me that he was able to get out of that water,” Borrego, who has already treated three shark attack victims this year, said. “The fact that there were 20 sharks in there, and he was able to get out and still have a leg is amazing.”

After Wakeman’s wounds were stabilized, Dr. Borrego gave him a spectrum of antibiotics to prevent infection. Wakeman is expected to make a full recovery.

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