Lurking through the deep blue seas are 440 different species of sharks. The group of elasmobranch fish (which also includes rays and skates) is classified into eight different orders. Each type of shark has a distinctive trait and personality. (Let’s just say some sharks are nicer than others.) Scientific researchers believe the great white is the most dangerous type of shark, followed by striped tiger sharks, bull sharks, and blacktip sharks.
The International Shark Attack File recorded 2,785 confirmed shark attacks between 1958 and 2016. Out of those, 439 were fatal. A large shark could weigh anywhere from 1,500 to 2,400 pounds and has a maximum bite force of 18,000 newtons (over 4,000 pounds). If that wasn’t scary enough, they also have razor-sharp teeth that can slice through almost anything.
All that said, it seems almost impossible for anyone to survive a shark encounter. Those people who were lucky enough to live another day have quite the shark attack survival story to tell.
Double Shark Attack
Shanin was just 15 years old when he was brutally attacked by not one but two great white sharks. He was first attacked by a shark that grabbed his hand and threw him into the air.
As Shanin and his board were getting dragged beneath the waves, a second shark came in to claim the human prey. “I remember staring at the shark face to face with its mouth wide open and I could see its eye staring right back to my face,” said Shanin.
Miraculously, a wave washed him to shore where bystanders pulled him to safety.
An exciting surfing trip to Indonesia took a terrible turn when a man fell overboard in the middle of the night. Brett Archibald, a 50-year-old South African, fell into the ocean around 2:52 in the morning.
No one was around to see what had happened and no one heard his screams. Archibald spent 29 grueling hours treading water and fighting off sharks before he was rescued. Thankfully, he made it out alive with only a few minor injuries.
Lola Pollina’s terrifying experience shows how shark attacks can take place even in shallow waters. After escaping from the shark’s razor-sharp jaws, she ran to the safety of her family.
“I didn’t feel anything until I actually saw what happened. You don’t expect something like that to happen until it happens,” said Pollina, only 12 years old at the time of the attack.
Getting back into the water hasn’t been easy for Pollina. There are times where she doesn’t feel comfortable, but having support from her friends helps.
While Jonathan Hernandez was spearfishing in the Bahamas, he was hit from behind by a great white shark. “I looked in the water and I could see that my calf was hanging and all the gushing blood filling the water,” said Hernandez.
He goes on to admit that the whole experience happened so fast and that it felt like a blur. Hernandez is grateful that he didn’t lose any limbs and that he still has a passion for spearfishing.
Austin Reed was riding the waves off the shore in North Carolina when a great white shark pulled him off of his board.
“I thought other sharks were about to go into a frenzy with all the blood in the water,” said Reed.
Luckily, Reed was able to make it out alive and only suffered from minor skin tears. Just a few weeks after leaving the hospital, Reed went back to that same beach to tackle his fear of getting back into the water.