A nine-foot-long bull shark was rescued from almost-certain death in a wayward fishing net earlier this week, when a deputy, a wildlife official, and oceanographic employees charged into the Florida surf to free the predator.
The unusual rescue took place on Wednesday, near the Indian Riverside Park in Jensen Beach, according to CBS 12. Around 1 p.m., a bystander noticed the bull shark swimming in circles, unaware that the animal’s dorsal fin was entangled by netting and fishing line. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office was contacted, and Deputy Jason Hickman arrived, entering the waist deep water to approach the bull shark. Using a hook, Hickman and another man were able to snag the netting, dragging the bull shark closer to shore.
The shark’s fin had nearly been severed from its body by the tangled mess of netting, rescuers noted. When asked if he was afraid of getting so close to the shark, Hickman asserted that the predator never lashed out at its rescuers during the half-hour-long struggle to bring it to the beach.
“At that point in time yes, but when we actually got out there he was never aggressive at any point in time. He was just real slow moving. So he kinda calmed down the closer we got to him.”
— OCEARCH (@OCEARCH) March 5, 2015
FWC Officer Megan Aswall, as well as Florida Oceanographic employees Zack Jud and Brittney Biber, assisted Hickman in handling the shark, according to WPTV. The astonishing rescue was filmed, later making its way to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
After removing the tangled netting, the rescuers decided that the shark appeared healthy enough to be released. Walking it into deeper water, they were able to watch as the bull shark regained a bit of its strength, swimming away.
“We definitely wanted to help the shark, so we knew we had to get it done. This is what we do out here on the water. Basically we’re out not only to protect the people, keep the people safe but also the animals as well,” Hickman noted.
— Christopher Arnold (@carnolddesigns) March 4, 2015
Last week, a photo depicting a bull shark swimming in a Florida backyard following heavy flooding went viral online. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the authenticity of the image was hotly debated, though it is technically possible for a bull shark to survive in those conditions.
Hickman noted his displeasure with the seemingly careless way that the netting and line were discarded, creating an easily avoidable hazard to local wildlife. He also expressed that he was pleased with the outcome of the efforts to rescue the bull shark.
[Image: MCSO Twitter via WPTV]