Shark Watch: American on Bahamas vacation yanks shark’s mouth open and ‘arm just flies out’

Jul 10, 2024 | U.S. | 0 comments

A woman was immersed in the awe of a reef teeming with life when she slammed into “something” during her snorkeling venture.

“When I turned to my right to see what I had bumped into, I was face to face with a shark,” North Carolina resident Tiffany Johnson told Fox News Digital about the 2017 attack in the Bahamas.

“The bump I felt was when it had literally grabbed onto my arm, so my arm was in his mouth.”

She overcame the sinking feeling of giving up, fought back and finally freed herself, but the shark “completely severed” her arm and left her with “a mangled stump.”

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Johnson said her immediate reaction was defeat, as bits of flashbacks of her life played like a slideshow in her head.

“I felt my body release, like giving up,” said Johnson, who described a “sudden strength” that she attributes to God.

“I remember thinking, ‘No, you’re not going to take my life,'” Johnson said, as she did everything she could to free herself from the shark’s clutches. 

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And “that’s when it was on for him,” she said. “The shark began to fight and thrash. I’m screaming through my snorkel, but you really can’t utter words. You’ve got the snorkel tube in your mouth.”

No one on the boat knew she was wrestling with death. 

She kept fighting, and “One of the times, I yanked his jaws open, and my arm kind of just flies out, and I look down, and it’s gone.”

All that was left was her shoulder and about three-to-five inches of her upper arm.

The entire attack happened like a snap of the finger. 

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Johnson and her husband were snorkeling during a cruise excursion – ironically off Paradise Island – when her husband became sick to his stomach.

Within 10 minutes of leaving the water, he threw up on the boat, medical staff tended to him, and the shark snapped Johnson’s arm off. 

After freeing herself, she was on the surface. She tossed her snorkel and screamed. Her husband heard her desperate pleas for help and rushed to her aid.

There were gaps in her memory from the attack, so she relied on her husband’s recollection to fill in the blanks. 

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“He said he turned and saw me. I had started to swim back, and I had put my injured arm up out of the water,” Johnson said. 

“It was literally spewing blood everywhere. And that was the sight he saw, and I remember locking eyes with him. 

“The terror on his face was something I’ve never seen before, and he just screamed out, ‘Baby,’ and jumped in the water as I’m trying to get to that boat.” 

At that point, no one had eyes on the shark. 

Johnson remembered being “laser focused” on the boat and said she “felt like it was right behind me.”

“I was praying the whole time, ‘God get me to that boat,’” Johnson said. “My husband met me in the water. I had made it most of the way on my own, and he took me the last 10 feet or so.”

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Cruise employees threw a rope to get onto the boat. They were at the ladder, and the shark “launched me from behind,” Johnson said. 

“The captain kind of grabbed my left arm, and I hit the boat. The minute I hit that boat, I felt God’s peace around me like a cloud. 

“Every time I talk about it, I get emotional because it’s like, I can’t even put it into words fully. All I can say is, it felt like a thick, tangible cloud of peace.”

They used towels as a makeshift tourniquet. She lay down during the longest seven minutes of their lives. 

The ship beelined for Paradise Island to get Johnson to a hospital. They reached the island and yelled for help. 

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After onlookers’ initial shock, they directed everyone to the main port, which was another 20 more minutes, according to Johnson. 

They finally reached the emergency room, but Bahamian medical care is not as advanced as America’s, and there were passport issues getting back to the U.S. that required the U.S. Embassy’s involvement, Johnson said. 

However, she did. She is alive and thriving. She is an author and helping other shark attack survivors. 

Johnson and her husband are celebrating anniversaries, going on trips and enjoying their lives. 

“I believe wholeheartedly God miraculously saved me,” she said. “Every time I tell that to anybody (what happened in the hospital in the Bahamas) with any kind of medical knowledge, they’re speechless. 

“They’re like, ‘Tiffany, I don’t know how you’re alive. You’re a living, walking miracle. Science can’t explain you. You know you don’t make sense.'”

A woman who was snorkeling in the Bahamas said she “turned to my right to see what I had bumped into, I was face to face with the shark” that bit her arm off.[#item_full_content]

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