Shark attacks are less likely to happen than a car accident, but when they occur they can be quite gruesome and terrifying. Sharks normally don’t intentionally hurt humans. When they do, it’s usually because they mistook the person for a seal. This is why surfers are usually targets—their boards resemble the shape of a seal’s body. When sharks do attack, they mean serious business. They’ve been known to:
- Bite off limbs,
- Shake humans,
- Tear flesh in half.
Hopefully these facts won’t make you too nervous to swim in the ocean on your next vacation. You might even get some reassurance from the fact that some of the people on this list survived their attack.
Here are ten of the most unbelievably crazy shark attacks that actually happened.
1. Arms race: In 2001 a man named Vance Flosenzier wrestled a shark in order to save his nephew’s arm which the shark had taken off. The boy, Jessie Arbogast, was 8-years-old at the time. He was swimming in shallow waters at a beach off the coast of Florida when he was attacked. A shark attacked him, leaving his left leg badly wounded and biting off his right arm. After pulling him from the ocean, his family desperately tried to keep him alive until ambulances arrived to take him to hospital.
By the time help finally arrived, almost all of the blood had drained from his body. Rather than giving up, Vance returned to he sea and managed to pull the shark from the water where a park ranger shot it. After killing the shark and cutting it open, Vance was able to retrieve his nephew’s arm. Miraculously, the arm was successfully reattached and Jessie survived.
2. Documented: A documentary crew had its filming permit revoked after being accused of luring shark a into shallow waters, putting surfers at risk. The crew had been throwing large pieces of fish into the waters just off the coast of South Africa’s False Bay in an attempt to lure sharks to their boat. However, these actions may have caused the death of a surfer.
A few days later, professional surfer David Lilenfeld was attacked by a white shark. He had his right leg ripped off after being dragged underwater. His body was eventually brought to the shore after his brother watched the waters turn red. The rescue efforts came too late, and David died from his injuries.
3. Murder Frenzy: Even though shark attacks are rare, these animals are still considered to be one of the most deadly creatures that lurk the waters. There was a time when they weren’t as feared, but this all changed during a series of attacks that occurred in the Jersey Shore. The first victim was a man named Charles Vansant, and the attack took place on July 1st, 1916. He was taking a swim in the Atlantic ocean when he was attacked by a shark, leaving his body severely wounded.
A few days later, Charles Bruder was also attacked while swimming. At this point, rumors of the killer shark began to spread. Following this attack, a 10-year-old boy fell prey to the shark. When someone went looking for remains of the boy’s body, the person was attacked and killed. After the murderous rampage, the shark was eventually hunted down and killed. When its body was split open, human remains spilled out.
4. Hide and Seek: Two friends, Zimmerman and Randy, were swimming alongside each other collecting sea shells off of the American Mendocino coast. They began to hear a strange noise and felt a fast movement rush past them.
Just as they discovered that there might be a large animal nearby, Zimmerman turned around to see Randy getting dragged away by the shark leaving a trail of red. Zimmerman swam to safety and he was unable to help. Randy’s decapitated body was found a few days later. He was recognizable thanks to the custom wet suit he had on.
5. Still Surfing: Bethany Hamilton on her way to becoming a professional surfer when she was attacked by a shark. One morning, Bethany was floating on her board with her arms dangling in the water. She noticed something grey move underneath her. The next thing she knew, the water was turning red and her left arm was gone. She was rushed to the shore where her friend’s dad helped save her life. When she finally made it to the hospital, she had lost 60% of her blood and gone into shock.
Despite the scary experience, Bethany recovered in a month and returned to the ocean where she taught herself to surf again. The tiger shark responsible for the attack had already been caught and when they found it, it still had debris from Bethany’s surfboard in its stomach.
6. Rescue Party: A man in New Zealand named Rob Howe was swimming with his teenage daughter and her friends. They found themselves surrounded by a school of dolphins. They had at first assumed that the dolphins were being playful but it was a sign that they were in danger.
The dolphins began swimming in tight circles, herding the group together. This was when they spotted the shark and realized that the dolphins were putting themselves at risk in order to protect the humans. The dolphins stayed with the group for 40 minutes safely escorting them to shore while the shark followed the entire time.
7. Double Trouble: In 1984 friends Omar Conger and Chris Rehm were in the ocean near the US Pacific coast. A giant shark grabbed 28-year-old Omar from behind and shook him violently before pulling him underwater.
After some time, the shark surfaced and released Omar. He went looking for a second kill and went straight for Rehm. Before this could happen, Rehm quickly pulled Omar onto a raft and headed back to shore. Unfortunately, due to the wounds, Omar died after losing too much blood.
8. Australian Nightmare: In what is known as one of the most devastating attacks, a mother named Shirley Durbin was diving for scallops close to Australia’s Peake Bay when a giant great white shark attacked her.
The shark was more than 6 feet long and ripped Durbin in half right in front of her husband and four children. By the time help arrived, all that was left was a headless torso.
9. Robert Pamperin and Gerald Lehrer were free diving together when they slowly began to drift apart. Lehrer was close to the bottom while they dived with masks, snorkels, and fins. This is when he noticed a dark shadow, then the white belly of a shark.
Frightened, Lehrer returned to the surface where he saw that half of Pamperin’s body had been taken by the shark. Pamperin was then shaken before being pulled away by the shark. Lehrer tried to follow the giant creature, hoping to make it release his friend’s body. Sadly, Pamperin disappeared, presumably eaten by the shark.
10. Unfortunate Events: In 1945 a navy crew was travelling on the USS Indianapolis when they were struck by Japanese torpedos. The ship was carrying 1,200 people and about 900 of them were thrown into the water as the ship sank. The enemy had left, but the men who survived were now floating aimlessly in the middle of the ocean. They had no idea they were about to attract another foe.
Before they knew it, hundreds of sharks surrounded them and began feasting on the dead bodies. Once they were through with those, they began to attack the living. Many of the men lost their lives to shark attacks and other issues such as drowning and dehydration. By the time help came only 300 living men were left.