Woman relives 'real-life Jaws' moment when a 12 foot shark attacked her friend

Woman relives 'real-life Jaws' moment when a 12 foot shark attacked her friend

There are few animals around who have as much of a bad image problem as sharks. Despite the fact that shark attacks on humans are pretty rare occurrences, these sea creatures are still thought of as being bloodthirsty monsters; most likely due to Steven Spielberg's classic summer blockbuster thriller Jaws, which famously made beachgoers afraid to go into the water.

Yet, when they do attack people, the consequences can be gruesome. One person who knows all too well the dangers that sharks can sometimes pose is maths teacher Tracy Wollschlager, who witnessed her friend being mauled by one while out spearfishing.

On February 2, 2019, Tracy and her friends Alvaro and Eric were swimming off the coast near her home in Miami, hunting for cobia. After a mere two minutes in the water, they suddenly realised they were surrounded by 10 bull sharks, which are considered by many experts to be the most dangerous sharks in the world.

An image of Tracy Wollschlager. Credit: Press Association

Suddenly, a 12-foot-long shark sank its teeth into Alvaro's wrist, which severed the radial artery and left his hand hanging from the bone. The trio managed to fend off the blood-frenzied sharks with their spearguns, but then the race was on to save Alvaro's life.

Commenting on the alarming incident in a recent interview, Tracy stated: "I was really freaking out, thinking to myself over and over again, 'This can’t be happening.' I was struggling to keep calm, seeing how bad the gash on his wrist was. Given how much blood was pouring out, it could easily have killed him...

"We were about three miles from the coast in Alvaro’s Contender fishing boat, at a spot where we had often been to, just above a shipwreck when it happened. We were really excited because there were lots of cobia fish about and it was like heaven for a fisherman, as they are pretty rare."

An image of Tracy Wollschlager and Eric Salado. Credit: Press Association

"It was a race against the clock to get back to land, as we were really worried because there was so much blood and we thought Alvaro could easily bleed out ... We have to realise that these things don’t happen very often, and while Alvaro was really lucky to make it out alive from that situation, he was also really unlucky to have been bitten in the first place. We know the risks as spearfishers of this sort of thing happening and I guess we might be a little more wary in future."

Thankfully, Alvaro managed to survive his brutal bite. Tracy dragged him onto the boat and cleaned and dressed his wound. Meanwhile, Eric made a tourniquet out of a bungee cord and contacted the emergency services, who sent an ambulance to the shore to assist them.

Alvaro was rushed to Ryder Trauma Centre in Miami, and after a five-hour-long operation to reconstruct his ligaments and tendons, he was able to regain full mobility in his hand.