Katarina Zarutskie is an Instagram model who had about 13,000 followers (which has now turned into at least 42,000). She was vacationing in the Bahamas, and had seen others take photos with nurse sharks “so many times before.” So against the advice of everyone around her, she decided to take a swim in the open waters and get some exotic pics to add to her Instagram page.
And in actuality, nurse sharks are known to be docile for the most part, with some tourist companies actually selling the experiences for tourists to swim and feed them, according to BuzzFeed News.
Unfortunately for Katarina, the sharks were hungry that day. That, or a local wanted to play a practical joke on her. Because someone told Katarina that she ought to lie back and float in the water after she posed for a few minutes. So she obliged, and as she lay in the water with at least 20 sharks just in the shot of her, one of the sharks reached up to her left wrist and bit down. Katarina was dragged underwater, but was able to free her wrist and get out of the water.
“He had my wrist in his mouth and I could feel his teeth sinking into my arm… I was pulled underwater for a few seconds and then ripped my wrist out of the shark’s mouth as fast as I could.”
Katarina went to the doctor for antibiotics but also flew back to Florida the following day to get medical help.
“[The doctors] now believe that I still have pieces of the shark teeth in my arm and I will forever have a scar… I am so fortunate that I still have my arm and my life.”
She also added that the media and public have reacted with mixed opinions about the ordeal, saying that “They took the information they wanted and really spun the story in a way that I’m a stupid blond Instagram model… I’ve definitely received a lot of rude and hateful comments from people that were saying ridiculous things,” reported the NY Post.
Katarina is certainly not the first to be bitten by a nurse shark. Back in 2017, a couple that was honeymooning in the Bahamas had a similar experience when they were at a tourist destination for swimming with sharks. Sarah Illig was underwater with her husband filming her, when one of the sharks bit down on her arm. Sarah also survived the bite with her arm intact, but had a scar that she was hoping would fade eventually, according to the Huffington Post.