Katarina Zarutskie is a Miami nursing student and an Instagram model who came very close to losing her life. Originally from Orange County, California, the petite blond was vacationing down in the Bahamas when she had the crazy idea to “swim with the sharks.” Now, her ordeal is going viral as the entire spectacle was captured on film, and she is lucky to be alive.
Americans beware: when vacationing down in the Bahamas, the locals may tell you that swimming with nurse sharks is safe, but common sense tells you all sharks are predators. This is the hard lesson Katarina Zarutskie learned as she excitedly jumped into a group of nurse sharks while on vacation.
NBC News reports, “Zarutskie, a 19-year-old nursing student and Instagram model from Laguna Beach, California, had been swimming with nurse sharks when one bit her arm and started to drag her under the water last month. Her boyfriend’s father took several photos throughout the attack, capturing the exact moment that Zarutskie came in contact with the 5-foot-long shark.”
“He had my wrist in his mouth and I could feel his teeth sinking into my arm,” Zarutskie told NBC News on Monday. “I was pulled underwater for a few seconds and then ripped my wrist out of the shark’s mouth as fast as I could.”
When she got free of the shark’s bite, she swam to some steps — holding her bleeding arm out of the water to not tempt more sharks. Zarutskie didn’t panic as she slowly moved to exit the water. This is probably what saved her life.
Buzzfeed reports, “Instead of freaking out, Zarutskie said she remained calm and pulled her arm out of the water to stop the blood from dripping in and attracting more sharks.” She told reporters the locals had encouraged travelers to swim with the sharks saying they weren’t aggressive.
“Zarutskie, who attends the University of Miami, had been on vacation with her boyfriend and his family and had heard from locals that swimming with nurse sharks was a fun and safe activity. She did not swim with the sharks through a tour company or any organization that required payment, but, having grown up as a surfer in Southern California, she said she was not afraid to jump in the water near a marina,” added NBC News.
Well, that is a little puzzling. Most surfers are very aware of the hazards in the ocean especially sharks. In 2003, Bethany Hamilton was 13-years-old when she lost her arm to a tiger shark while surfing in Hawaii. While she returned to become a professional surfer with one arm, the dangers are something veteran surfers and swimmers never forget.
— Bethany Hamilton (@bethanyhamilton) July 11, 2018
As for Katarina Zarutskie, she suffered a nasty bite that required several rounds of antibiotics. “My boyfriend’s family was freaking out when I went to swim with the sharks and I was like, ‘it’s fine,’” Zarutskie told the press.
According to David Hocher, who owns Staniel Cay marina, people do get bitten from time to time while around the sharks. “These animals are considered quite docile but can and do bite on occasion,” Hocher wrote in an email. “Normally when they mistake a hand or fingers for a piece of food.”
The Miami nursing student also received hate mail and messages from nutty environmental leftists who thought she was “blaming the shark.” Buzzfeed reports, “She was immediately attacked with haters, who told her she was blaming the shark. However, she said she ‘love[s] sharks and I’m not throwing them under the bus.”‘
Vacation spots outside the U.S. are known to draw naive travelers with tales like swimming with the sharks. The waters surrounding the Bahamas are warm and are home to stingrays and jellyfish, besides sharks, which do a lot of damage to unsuspecting swimmers who aren’t aware of what to look for.
We’re glad Katerina made it out without any lost limbs, and when asked if she would do it again, she said, “I wouldn’t float with them [the sharks] but I’d definitely stand in the water.” There’s just no accounting to why someone would put their life on the line, again. Here’s hoping she changes her mind.