In a harrowing incident off the coast of Florida, a man in his 40s was left in critical condition after a shark attacked him while he was fishing near Fernandina Beach, north of Jacksonville, yesterday morning. The unfortunate event underscores the ever-present dangers that lurk in the waters off the Sunshine State, where shark encounters are not uncommon.

The man, who was aboard a fishing boat, found himself in a life-threatening situation after reeling in a shark that retaliated by biting his right forearm. Demonstrating remarkable presence of mind amidst the chaos, the injured fisherman managed to toss the shark back into the water despite his severe injury, according to Action News Jax.

At 11:15 a.m., the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit received an urgent distress call via emergency radio. Deputies quickly responded and discovered the man had suffered substantial blood loss. A Facebook video posted by the sheriff’s office detailed the dramatic rescue.

“Upon arrival, NCSO deputies found the victim with a critical injury. Acting swiftly, a deputy boarded the vessel and applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding,” the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office reported on Facebook. Their quick thinking and immediate action undoubtedly played a crucial role in stabilizing the man’s condition.

The victim was then airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he remains in critical condition. However, medical professionals are optimistic about his recovery, thanks in large part to the timely intervention by the marine unit deputies.

Nassau County, located about 150 miles north of Volusia County—the so-called “shark bite capital of the world”—is no stranger to shark-related incidents. Volusia County alone reported 17 shark bites in 2021, as per the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File. Last year, Florida recorded 16 shark attacks, accounting for 44% of all shark attacks in the United States.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the inherent risks associated with marine activities in Florida’s waters. While fishing and other water sports are popular pastimes, they also come with the potential for dangerous encounters with marine wildlife.

In the wake of this attack, it’s essential for both locals and tourists to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions when venturing into the ocean. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission advises staying in groups, avoiding the water at dawn and dusk when sharks are most active, and steering clear of areas where sharks are known to congregate.

The bravery and quick response of the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit are commendable, showcasing the critical role of first responders in ensuring public safety. As the injured man battles for recovery, this incident will undoubtedly renew discussions about shark safety and the measures needed to protect those who enjoy Florida’s beautiful but sometimes perilous waters.

While the fisherman’s future remains uncertain, the incident stands as a testament to human resilience and the importance of swift, decisive action in the face of danger. The community will undoubtedly rally around the victim and his family, offering support and prayers for his full recovery.