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UK Coast Guard Rescues Shark Bite Victim

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By MarEx 2018-05-14 15:55:00

On Sunday morning, Her Majesty's Coastguard rescued a fisherman from the deck of the trawler Govenek of Landram after he suffered a severe bite from a small shark. 

Fisherman Max Berryman, 21, was bitten by a porbeagle shark that came aboard the Landram as bycatch in a fishing net. He was attempting to return it to the water when it attacked his leg, causing multiple serious cuts below the knee. 

The crew of the Landram called HM Coastguard for assistance. Well before a helicopter could arrive, Berryman's crewmates  helped him with high-quality first aid treatment, sterilizing his wounds and closing them with superglue and sterile bandages. The Landram was about 110 nm off Lands End, Cornwall at the time of the incident, and given the amount of time that would be required to motor back to shore, an advising physician recommended a helicopter medivac to bring Berryman in for treatment. 

The coastguard dispatched a SAR helicopter from Newquay, and paramedic winchman Julian Williams was lowered to the vessel to hoist Berryman to safety. "The crew had done a really good job of dressing the wounds before we arrived, which meant that we were able to save time getting the casualty to Treliske hospital. We understand that the porbeagle shark was on the deck when the incident happened but as the crew were attempting to put it back in the sea one of the fisherman was bitten," Williams said. 

As of Monday, Berryman was still in the hospital and recovering, according to Alex Grieg, senior maritime operations officer for HM Coastguard.

The porbeagle is a small, migratory shark inhabiting mid-latitude regions in the northern and southern hemispheres. It grows to about eight feet in length and 300 pounds, and while it is a capable hunter, it is rarely aggressive towards humans: the Florida Museum's comprehensive Shark Attack File has only two confirmed records of an unprovoked attack by a porbeagle. The IUCN assesses that it is endangered in some parts of its northern range, though its numbers are greater in its southern hemisphere habitats.