It’s a common sight on Instagram – travellers sharing photos from an island paradise, swimming in crystal clear water.
But one tourist has gone viral for all the wrong reasons, after a video was uploaded showing his reckless behaviour that put him in a dangerous situation in Tahitian waters.
The man was part of a group that had travelled by boat into the lagoon, where black-tipped reef sharks were immediately spotted. But while the rest of the visitors remained on board, he decided to enter the water with the apex predators – and took food with him.
With at least seven sharks and a ray surrounding him, the man is seen in chest-high water holding something in one hand – reportedly some food to feed the sharks with.
The vision cuts to the man back on the boat, wrapping a towel around his right arm with blood stains visible on the material. A separate, low quality clip shows the moment a shark latched onto his arm, prompting the man to quickly get out of the water.
Man's bone 'visible after shark bite'
According to the Instgrammer who posted the video, the shark bite cut the man’s arm “down to the bone twice”. But there was little sympathy for the victim, with many questioning why he would enter the water with food.
“This man tried to hand feed some sharks and then was surprised he got bit. Sir. You could have just swam and been fine. Why did you bring food in? What spirit possessed you?” one stunned viewer wrote.
The man who filmed the video replied, saying: "Questions he reflected on while getting over 100 stitches.” Someone else labelled him the “most stupid person in the planet”.
Tourists should avoid feeding and swimming with sharks: expert
Shark researcher Daryl McPhee said hand feeding sharks is dangerous and “more common than it should be".
“Unsurprisingly, it often leads to the person being bitten, often severely,” he told Yahoo News Australia. “This has occurred in Egypt, Australia, the US, just to name a couple of countries.
“The decision to try and hand feed a shark is dangerous, and sharks can learn to associate people with an easy meal. Sharks are not companion animals. I am not sure too many people want to hand feed a wild bear, but hand feeding sharks seems to be a different story.”
While unprovoked attacks are not typical of reef sharks, Dr McPhee said human feeding activities have led to a number of bites in the past.
He warned that swimming with sharks is a “risky activity” that tourists should avoid.
“Tourists are best advised to avoid it and certainly check their travel insurance as it may be null and void in the event of a bite occurring that could have been avoided,” he said.
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