(CMR) A local diver was bitten by a nurse shark earlier today during day one of the 30th Cayman United Lionfish League (CULL) Tournament.
The diver, identified on social media as Paul Egleston (70), sustained injuries to his leg in the back of the knee region. He shared that he believes the shark may have been attempting to grab his lionfish haul for the day through the button of his bucket but instead ripped into his leg. He was treated at the George Town Hospital for his injuries. CMR understand that he will be fine and is “in good spirits”.
Egleston was initially concerned the shark may have “ripped my femoral artery” – the major artery in the leg that would have almost certainly meant death. However, he was able to put direct pressure on it while slowly surfacing. He faced the real potential of getting “the bends” if he ascended too quickly. He made a safety checked before coming to the surface. He noted that:
“I was fortunate to have an experienced and capable crew to help me.”Paul Egleston
CMR understands he will be in the hospital for a few days recovering.
Jason Washington of Ambassador Divers and a scuba diving hall of fame local honouree and CULL founded reminded divers about the dangers of feeding nurse sharks. Sharing that it was apparent that he had been fed lionfish by a dive operator before and was following Egleston for some time. He shared:
“Here’s the deal folks, feeding sharks Lionfish will never teach the shark to hunt the invasive species on their own. It will only teach the shark to associate divers with food. If you see your dive op feeding Lionfish to sharks, please report them to Doe Cayman.
It’s illegal and as you can see by this image, extremely dangerous for those of us who are trying to do the right thing by removing the fish from the water. If you’ve seen this behavior by your dive op, please feel free to add their name to this post!!!!”Jason Washington – CULL Founder and avid diver
Another diver who was with Paul at the time of the incident noted that shark appeared very aggressive while trying to get at the bucket.
The event was the 30th of its kind and is offering over $3,200 in prizes. Weigh-in is happening from 4:00 pm til 8:00 pm at Rackams On The Waterfront.