She lived to tell about it, but Tiffany Johnson emerged from a snorkeling excursion without an arm in on a horrifying story that might just make you think twice about reef snorkeling. Johnson, 32, and her husband were on a Caribbean cruise and at the last stop in the Bahamas, they went on a snorkeling excursion to a shallow reef.
Johnson had been snorkeling with her husband and a group of people who jumped off a boat into the waters around this shallow reef. Johnson said she felt something bump into her and when she turned to her right, there was a shark looking her right in the face. That shark had a hold of her arm and wasn’t letting go. She describes what she could see in the water in her own words, “my whole arm was in its mouth just floating there,” cites the Washington Post.
She said she then tried to yank her arm out of the shark’s mouth and it seemed like with each yank the shark clamped down harder. With her last yank, the shark bit her arm and “cut it clean off,” said Johnson. At this minute in time you might be thinking how terrifying this is, but if the shark hadn’t taken her arm, Johnson might not have made it out of the shark’s grip.
She didn’t have an air tank, she was snorkeling, so she couldn’t have stayed underwater for any length of time. If that arm didn’t come off and set her free, she could have been dragged under and never emerge. Johnson credits her faith for allowing her to stay calm during the terrifying event.
J.J. Johnson, Tiffany’s husband, was on the boat watching his wife swim back when the shark came up on her. He said his wife could feel a “small tug on her arm” causing her to turn and look at the shark putting the Concord, North Carolina, mom of three face to face with the predator. When her husband realized what was happening to his wife, he jumped in the water and started swimming to her. He could hear her screams and he could see the water all around her turning blood red, J.J. told the reporters.
The shark that attacked Johnson was fast and believed to be a tiger shark, J.J. Johnson said. He could see his wife struggling with the shark to get her arm out of its mouth. This was a terrifying moment for J.J. as well. He told the reporter from WBTV News that “They struggled there for a second and as she tried to pull away, the shark bit her arm off.”
The shark took Johnson’s arm off below the elbow. Once on land, she was rushed into surgery and then transported back to Charlotte the next day. She underwent two more surgeries at CMC. As WBTV News writes, she may have lost her arm, but she’s alive and her kids have their mom and J.J. has his wife. J.J. summed it up by saying “It’s by the grace of God she’s alive.”
As far as Tiffany Johnson is concerned, it is God that helped her through this. Her husband said he could hear her praying as she swam back to the boat after the shark took her arm. The couple believes her praying and her faith in God is why she is alive today. She is still facing another surgery, but this mom has a good attitude about this horrific event. She said it was a limb and not her life that the shark took. She is thankful for that.
[Featured Image by Schalk van Zuydam/AP Images]