In an instant, a photographer caught a terrifyingly rare sight: a shark attacking a surfer off the Florida coast last week.
Central Florida photographer Sam Scribner happened to be hanging out watching surfers in action Thursday at the Ponce Inlet in New Smyrna Beach when suddenly the unthinkable occurred.
Posted on Scribner’s Instagram (Headline: “Trigger Warning: SHARK BITE”), his video eerily looks like a scene from the 1975 classic “Jaws.”
A boy in a light-blue, long-sleeved board shirt is paddling out on his board about to ride a wave, when a dorsal fin comes into the frame, its grayish-silver body thrashing out of the water. There is a seconds-long, violent skirmish between them as the fish clamps down. The surfer is able to escape; when reaching the shore, with the help of a pal, he checks his arm.
“I certainly don’t want to villainize sharks, this is something that’s all too common in the waters around New Smyrna Beach,” Scribner wrote on Insta of the incident. “We are in their territory and sometimes those little (thankfully, he was little) guys like to enact the stand your ground law.”
Appearing on “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, the victim, 16-year-old Doyle Nielsen, says he is doing fine.
“It felt like someone on their surfboard had come full speed directly at me and hit me super hard,” Nielsen said, wearing a bandage on his upper arm. “And then after somebody had yelled, ‘There’s a shark, get out of there!’ I realized what it was.”
On the teen’s own Instagram page, he posted a picture of himself on the beach with his board: “Walked away very lucky, I only had to get nine stitches.”
Scribner, a former surfer who is now in a wheelchair, told “GMA:” “Doyle was right in the middle of my frame and the shark just hit him. It was over in a matter of seconds ... it’s crazy how quickly it happened.”
Another shark near other surfers was also seen in the clip. Scribner told the Miami Herald that waves were intense that day due to Hurricane Larry.
According to TrackingSharks.com, as of Wednesday, there have been 25 shark attacks in Florida so far this year. But in Satellite Beach, on Saturday, a young man escaped without a scratch when a shark rode a wave with him during the Gnarly Charley tournament.