Dutch public broadcaster NPO has aired footage of the moment biologist and television personality Freek Vonk was bitten by a shark while shooting a documentary series in the Bahamas.
In nothing but a pair of board shorts and big yellow sunglasses, Vonk hopped into the water off Bimini Island to swim with a large school of reef sharks.
It wasn’t long before one particular shark started showing a little more interest in him than the others.
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The incident occurred in February 2017, during the recording of nature programme ‘Freek to the Sharks’, which aired later in the year on December 30.
In the footage the shark in question can be seen first approaching Vonk from the front.
He forcefully pushes the shark away when it gets too close, and it momentarily swims off.
But the curious shark circles around and approaches him again from behind, giving the television presenter a swift and deep bite on the arm.
"These friendly sharks, like all sharks, are harmless to humans. Still, it went wrong," Vonk said in a Facebook post after the incident.
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"One of the sharks made a mistake and took a big bite out of my right upper arm. I knew right away, this is bad."
Despite suffering serious injury, requiring helicopter transfer from Bimini island to the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, USA, where he underwent three hours of surgery and received 100 stitches, Vonk stresses that the shark isn’t to blame.
(Image: Freek Vonk via Facebook)
"I would like to stress that this is an unfortunate combination of circumstances, with neither [theBimini] Sharklab, my crew, myself or the shark [to blame]", he posted.
"In the 27 years that the Sharklab here is investigating, this has never happened before.
“It's a shame I had to interrupt this beautiful journey early", he said, "but I can't wait until I can start diving with these beautiful animals [again]."
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