US diver bitten by reef shark


Tribune Staff Reporter

A MASSACHUSETTS woman, who was airlifted to Florida after a shark attack in Abaco over the weekend, is reportedly recovering in hospital after successful surgery to save her fingers.

Maggie Ewing, a 34-year-old part-time resident of Abaco, was reportedly coming to the surface of the water just off Treasure Cay on Sunday when a black-tip reef shark bit her hand.

The shark was attempting to snag a hog fish from the tip of her spear.

After assessing the scene, local officials determined that Ms Ewing’s condition was critical and required major medical services.

A Florida air ambulance service was contacted and Ms Ewing was airlifted to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida.

She underwent successful surgery on Monday.

Surgeons removed a shark tooth from her hand and was successful in saving her fingers in the process.

Colin Albury, Abaco Fire and Rescue Chief, a family friend of Ms Ewing and a first responder on Sunday, said that while he was surprised by the attack, he understands that things like that can happen at any moment.

“It is just one of those things and it happened,” he said. “She isn’t mad at the shark because getting attacked is a common risk with spearfishing . It can happen at anytime. We must learn to respect the sea when we’re in (the sea).

“A lot of people don’t realize that when you are spearfishing grouper or hogfish give off a sound when they are injured and that sound is like ringing the dinner bell for the sharks.”

He said when he saw Ms Ewing after the attack, she was lying on the floor with her hand elevated trying to control the bleeding. She was in obvious pain.

“She’s a real tough lady, but in severe - naturally - because of the mutilation of her hand,” he added, “She pulled through it.”