Sunday, March 4, 2007

Shrimp Boat Captain Survives Run-In With Bull Shark

The sharks are challenging our place at the top of the food chain, and I won't take it anymore!
FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. -- The crew of a Fort Myers Beach shrimp boat said they are lucky to be alive after a bull shark attacked their boat.
Fort Myers is one of the largest shrimping ports in the nation. The area nets over $60 million for the local economy.
Captain Roger Schmall said he had one of the biggest scares of his life when a 14-foot bull shark broke the boat's tail shaft, leaving Schmall and his crew of two adrift about 100 miles off the coast.
"It was just sad, you know, sitting there watching it," Schmall said of his boat, Christy Nichole, which he had for 12 years.
Historians say bull sharks are the most dangerous in the world -- very aggressive and territorial with more testosterone than any other creature on the planet.
"We get hundreds of sharks following the boats when we're working, and it gets pretty scary sometimes," Schmall said. "Throwing trash over and watching them in a feeding frenzy."
Schmall said he and his crew felt a slam at 3:30 a.m., but that it was nothing unusual because sharks had been known to get caught underneath.
Schmall said the boat could go in neutral, but the problems started after the shark bogged down engine down, and snapped the tail. He said the Christy Nichole rapidly began taking in water.
"It was just getting out of hand," a fellow shirmper and captain, Henry Gore, said. "The water was coming in faster than the pumps were keeping up."
Schmall radioed Captain Gore for help and two hours later, the frightened shrimpers had no choice but to watch their 36-year-old boat sink with sharks all around it.
"The crew just -- their eyes were this big! They threw their gear on my boat, and just abandoned ship," said Gore.
Schmall told NBC 6 that he would probably be back on the water but that he was going to take some time off first to see his family.

1 comment:

Sherry said...

Eat more shark!