Coast Guard medevacs shark bite victim near Bahamas

Coast Guard MH-60 helicopter

USCG MH-60 helicopter file photo

MIAMI — The Coast Guard medically evacuated a shark bite victim about 18 miles north of West End, The Bahamas, Wednesday.

Jim Abernathy, 55, residence unknown, was on a diving excursion with the commercial diving vessel Shear Water when he was bitten on the arm.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., deployed in support of Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) located the Shear Water, safely hoisted Abernathy and transported him to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla.

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  1. Jimmy Number Two says:

    This is the second time the Coast Guard has been called in for Jimmy and a shark attack. Are you charging him for these man made pick ups? They happen because he charges people to play with sharks without cages.

  2. Thomas says:

    Abernethy, a well-known dive operator and shark enthusiast, is no stranger to controversy. Back in 2008, Markus Groh, a lawyer and avid diver from Austria, died from a shark bite while on a trip led by Abernethy.

    Before the Groh incident, Abernethy had been warned in a letter which went to all dive companies operating in the Bahamas, to cease and desist “conducting open-water non-cage shark diving experiences with known species of potentially dangerous sharks, such as tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerhead sharks, lemon sharks & mako sharks.”

    The letter, written by Neal Watson, president of the Bahamas Dive Association, went on to say “some dive operators have chosen to disregard standard safe-diving practices as it relates to interactions with tiger sharks and other potentially dangerous species of sharks, in various locations within the waters of The Islands of The Bahamas.”

    In an interview, Watson said “there’s not a shark expert in the world that would put divers in the water, with chum, specifically to attract bull, tiger and hammerhead sharks, without a cage. That’s putting people’s lives at risk”

    Watson said Abernethy’s “cowboy” operation “refused to comply” with his cease and desist recommendation.