A shark attack in the Bahamas claimed the arm of a mother of three who was snorkeling with her husband when the attack occurred.
Tiffany Johnson was attacked by a shark recently while snorkeling in the Bahamas during the last stop of their cruise.
Johnson finally returned home from the hospital Monday after having part of her right arm amputated from the attack.
The mother of three was snorkeling in a shallow reef when it happened. Her husband remained back on the boat, having left the water after becoming nauseous while swimming. Johnson continued to explore the reef on Athol Island.
“It just felt like I had bumped into something,” she told WTVD-TV. “So I just casually turned to my right to look… my whole arm in its mouth, just floating there.”
It was unclear exactly what kind of shark attacked Johnson, though she said it was gray and medium sized — possibly a tiger shark. Johnson said she attempted to free her arm but the shark only bit down harder. She struggled with the animal for at least a few minutes.
“I kept trying to yank my hand back,” she told WSOC-TV. “The last time I yanked, he had cut it clean off so I was able to actually get free.”
Johnson said she was terrified that the shark would come back.
“I was really scared that the shark was going to follow me,” she told Tracking Sharks. “Blood attacks sharks. I knew I had to get out of the water as fast as possible. It did not follow me, by the grace of God, because it doesn’t make sense to me. It didn’t grab my leg while I was pulled away or anything.”
Her husband, James, heard her screams from the boat and jumped into the water to help her.
“As I looked over at her, I just saw the blood all around in the water and that part of her arm was gone,” he told Tracking Sharks. James said he immediately went into “survival mode” and swam over to his wife.
Johnson, meanwhile, said she was calm and attributed her demeanor to her faith.
“I felt this tangible peace on me and it was so thick, that I was just calm,” she said, noting that she began praying as soon as it happened.
After getting her out of the water, Bahamian doctors were able stop the bleeding. But the couple remained stuck in the Bahamas due to complications with their documents and a Medevac flight back to their home state would have cost them $16,000. The Medevac company, however, stepped up and offered to pay for the entire trip, the couple said.
“I’m just so thankful. I’m thankful to be here,” she told WSOC-TV. “I’m thankful o be able to share this story and I hope, and I know, that it’s going to change people’s lives because you can’t hear this story and not see God in it.”
Johnson was scheduled to have another surgery this week to prepare for a prosthetic limb.
While marine creatures are frequently spotted in the Bahamas, there have been relatively few unprovoked shark attacks in the area. From 1749 to the present, there have only been 28 unprovoked shark attacks in the Bahamas, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File.