An Instagram model from California says she’s lucky to be alive after she was attacked by a shark while swimming in the Bahamas.
Katarina Zarutskie, a 19-year-old model and nursing student, said she had heard from locals that swimming with nurse sharks could be a fun experience so when she spotted a group of them off the coast of Staniel Cay island she jumped right into the clear blue water.
What was supposed to be a memorable adventure quickly turned dangerous when one of the sharks bit Zarutskie’s arm and dragged her under the water.
Katarina Zarutskie, a 19-year-old Instagram model and nursing student, said she was attacked by a shark while on vacation in the Bahamas
Zarutskie said the terrifying encounter was captured on camera by her boyfriend’s father. This photo above shows the moment Zarutskie said she was bitten in the arm and dragged under
Zarutskie said she had to hold her injured arm above the water to prevent the blood from attracting more sharks
Zarutskie shows off the bite mark on her arm after she was bit by a nurse shark while swimming in the Bahamas
‘He had my wrist in his mouth and I could feel his teeth sinking into my arm,’ she told NBC News in an interview on Monday.
Zarutskie, a student at the University of Miami, was on vacation with her boyfriend’s family when she was attacked. She said her boyfriend’s father captured the terrifying encounter on camera.
In one image, the Laguna Beach native is seen wearing a blue bikini floating on her back in the water with her arms outstretched. About a dozen nurse shark are just inches away.
Another photo captures the exact moment Zarutskie was attacked. In the image, she appears to be splashing in the water as several nurse sharks surround her.
A third picture shows her holding her injured arm above the water to prevent the blood from attracting more sharks as she tries to get out of the water. She shared the photos on her Instagram page with the caption: ‘PSA: Sharks DO bite’.
Zarutskie told NBC that the shark she came in contact with was five-feet long.
‘I was pulled underwater for a few seconds and then ripped my wrist out of the shark’s mouth as fast as I could,’ she said.
After freeing her arm from the shark’s mouth, Zarutskie said she swam to some nearby steps and climbed out of the water.
‘I am so fortunate that I still have my arm’: Zarutskie said she felt lucky to be alive after a shark bit her arm
Zarutskie was on vacation with her boyfriend’s family when she was attacked by a five-foot-long nurse shark
Zarutskie said she was worried the shark bite would affect her modeling career, but is lucky to still have her arm and be alive
The model and University of Miami student admitted that she did not use a tour company when she decided to swim with the sharks
She went to a local clinic to have her wound cleaned and wrapped, but said she flew to Florida for further treatment when she learned that shark bites have a high risk of getting infected.
Daniel Hocker, who owns Staniel Cay marina, said that there is a sign near the spot Zarutskie was swimming warning people of shark attacks.
‘These animals are considered quite docile but can and do bite on occasion,’ he told the outlet. ‘Normally when they mistake a hand or fingers for a piece of food’.
Zarutskie said she didn’t see the sign and did not swim with the sharks through a tour company or local organization. She said her boyfriend’s family was ‘freaking out’ when she told them she wanted to swim with the sharks, but she decided to do it anyway.
‘(The doctors) now believe that I still have pieces of the shark teeth in my arm and I will forever have a scar,’ she said, adding that she was worried the shark bite could affect her modeling career.
‘I am so fortunate that I still have my arm and my life,’ she told the outlet