Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man bitten by shark while angling off Cork coast

By Mark Edwards

A Belfast man has been seriously injured after being bitten by a Blue Shark whilst angling off the Cork coast.

Crosshaven RNLI was alerted to the incident at 6pm on Saturday and volunteers responded immediately.

The man sustained a serious lower arm injury after being bitten by the shark while fishing.

The RNLI volunteers travelled four miles south of Roches Point where they met with the Deora De deep-sea angling boat.

The casualty was given immediate first aid by the crew of the angling boat before being transferred to the lifeboat where further care was given on board.

The lifeboat was met at Crosshaven by a paramedic crew who transported him to the Cork University Hospital.

A RNLI spokesman 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.

"We're not trying to panic anyone."

The spokesman added that the men aboard the fishing vessel did everything correctly.

He said: "This is the first incident of a shark bite that we've had to deal with, although the blue sharks are common.

"I'd like everyone to keep in mind that the shark was nowhere near angling or swimming water levels.

"The men involved were fishing for sharks when the bite happened as he was trying to de-hook the shark.

"The injury is absolutely not life changing and it was a repairable flesh wound.

"The guys on board did everything right, it was a small nip while fishing.

"He was successful in catching the shark, just unlucky in de-hooking.

"The first aid he received from the men on his boat was second to none.

"I'm completely confident he would be back on his way back to Belfast with no issues."

The man - who is from the Belfast area - underwent emergency surgery and is now understood to be in a serious but stable condition.

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.

Until 2013, the blue shark was implicated in only 13 biting incidents with humans, four of which ended fatally.

The species normally feed on small fish and squid.

They are known for their slim shape, high speed and acute sense of smell.

Blue Sharks are often hunted for food by other, larger shark species and even Killer Whales.

In some parts of the world, Blue Sharks are prized as a game fish because of their graceful build and tremendous speed.

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