The shark that bit an angler on a boat outside Cork harbour at the weekend was nowhere near swimming waters, a lifeboat spokesperson has assured the public.
Described as a nip or a flesh wound, the bite to the fisherman’s lower left forearm happened around teatime on Saturday, when the visiting fishermen, were around 20km south-east of Cork harbour.
The fisherman, Robert Malcomson, was part of a group from the North fishing for shark on the chartered deep-sea angling boat, Deora Dé. He was trying to dehook the fish when the bite occured.
“The injury is absolutely not life-changing and it was a repairable flesh wound,” a Crosshaven RNLI spokesman said.
He was successful in catching the shark, just unlucky in dehooking.
The lifeboat crew was called at around 6pm and the volunteers launched immediately.
“The guys on board did everything right,” the lifeboat spokesperson said. “It was a small nip while fishing. The first aid he received from the men on his boat was second to none.”
He said that while blue sharks are common, this was the first shark bite the crew had attended.
“I’d like everyone to keep in mind that the shark was nowhere near angling or swimming water levels,” he said. “This was more of an angling accident than a shark attack, there was a bit of a struggle when pulling the shark on board.”
Although blue sharks are the most common species of shark in Irish waters, they rarely bite humans. They usually feed on small fish and squid, and can live for around 20 years.
SHARK BITE - We're speaking to Belfast man Robert who sustained a serious lower arm injury on Saturday evening after being bitten by a Blue Shark whilst angling South of Roches Point. Crosshaven lifeboat came to his aid and brought him to CUH. He says his arm is still bleeding! pic.twitter.com/i9YfOulxAB— Neil Prendeville (@NeilRedFM) September 3, 2018
Until 2013, the blue shark was implicated in only 13 biting incidents with humans, four of which ended fatally.
The operation to get the man to medical attention included direct communication between those on the angling vessel and an emergency doctor at Cork University Hospital (CUH).
Our first aid wouldn’t win any beauty awards but... we stemmed the bleeding and got it covered up,” said James Linehan, who was also on board the Deora Dé.
The boat steamed towards Crosshaven and linked up with the Crosshaven RNLI crew about 7km south of Roches Point near the harbour entrance. The man’s injury was well strapped before being transferred to the lifeboat, where further casualty care was given.
An ambulance crew met the lifeboat on its return to Crosshaven and took him on to Cork University Hospital for treatment.
Mr Linehan thanked the lifeboat volunteers, Coast Guard teams at Cork and Valentia, the doctor at CUH’s Medico Cork service, which provides the medical telephone service to vessels in Irish territorial waters, and the National Ambulance Service.