View Full Version : Shark Attack in the Turks and Caicos
November 16th, 2002, 02:05 PM
Woman Bitten By Shark
Fri Nov 15, 8:21 AM ET
A woman was flown to Miami for treatment after being bitten by a shark on Thursday morning, Coast Guard officials said.
The woman was reportedly bitten on the arm while diving in the Turks and Caicos Islands around 8:40 a.m. She was flown to Opa-Locka Airport in a Coast Guard Falcon jet, where she was transferred to an air rescue helicopter.
Rescuers said that the woman was diving near French Key off a boat called the "Sea Dancer."
The woman was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Doctors are treating her for a bite to her upper arm and say that she is in stable condition.
Coincidence Saves Shark Attack Victim
Fri Nov 15, 6:38 PM ET
A woman survived a potentially fatal shark attack, thanks to a lifesaving coincidence.
Michelle Glen was diving in the Turks and Caicos when a shark bite her upper arm, tearing through muscles, nerves, and a major artery.
Experts say most shark attack victims die of blood loss, and with the severity of Glen's wound, the likelihood of death was very high.
Amazingly, Glen was rescued by her husband, who is an orthopedic surgeon, and a friend who is a vascular surgeon. Vascular surgeons specialize in repairing arteries and veins. The friend was able to clamp Glen's wound, and stopped the potentially life-threatening bleeding.
Glen was transferred by air to Miami's Ryder Trauma Center on Thursday. She underwent six hours of surgery.
Orthopedic surgeon Anne Oullette described the shark bite as the worst she's ever seen, saying it was a foot across, and it literally excised the Glen's upper arm, leaving no muscle behind.
Doctors said there is a 50 percent possibility that Glen will not loose her arm. But they also said there is a chance that she might not regain use of the arm.
Posted on Sat, Nov. 16, 2002
In South Florida
Woman bitten by shark has second surgery
A woman bitten in one arm by a shark while scuba diving in the Turks and Caicos islands underwent a second operation Friday.
Michelle Glenn, 41, of Fort Walton Beach in the Florida Panhandle, suffered a serious bite to the back of the arm that required five hours of surgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on Thursday and a second, one-hour operation Friday, according to Dr. Anne Ouellette. She was in fair condition Friday evening.
The next 72 hours will determine whether Glenn will be able to use her arm again.
''She's missing a significant amount of muscle,'' Ouellette said.
``We're still not quite out of the woods.''
Glenn was with a dive charter when she was bitten. A Coast Guard jet picked her up and flew her to Opa-locka Airport; a helicopter then flew her to Jackson.
November 16th, 2002, 05:35 PM
Holy ship! That is the first time I ever heard of a diver getting bit by a shark. I would be interested to know whether she was at the surface or at depth.
November 17th, 2002, 12:37 AM
"Sea Dancer"...isn't that one of Peter Hughes' Dive Fleet...Man, not a good couple of years for them is it?
November 17th, 2002, 06:41 PM
Poor woman. I hope she is OK.
Is there any info on what kind of shark attacked her or what might have set it off????
November 18th, 2002, 11:28 PM
This article was published on the same sight I found the shark
attack news on. Some interesting info...
Learn More About Shark Attacks
Experts say that shark attacks are a danger that must be
acknowledged by anyone who frequents marine waters but the danger
should be kept in perspective. Here's some information to help you
learn a little bit more about the subject.
Bees, wasps and snakes are responsible for more fatalities than
sharks every year.
Among all known species of sharks, 27 have been authoritatively
linked to attacks on people or boats.
The odds of getting killed by a shark are extremely minimal. For
people living in the U.S., the risk of getting struck and killed by
a bolt of lightning is 30 times greater than that of getting killed
by a shark.
Your chances of winning the Florida lottery are greater than your
chances of getting killed by a shark.
Worldwide, experts estimate that there are about 70 to 100 hundred
attacks annually with about five to 15 of those resulting in
The death rate for shark attacks is decreasing due to improved
emergency medical treatment, but the rate of shark attacks overall
is increasing -- probably because more people are entering the water
than ever before.
Where Sharks Attack
Most shark attacks take place in areas close to shore where people
are most likely to be swimming or surfing. Some likely locations for
these attacks are areas between a sandbar and shore, where sharks
feed and sometimes become trapped during low tides.
Underwater geography can play a role in shark attacks as well. Areas
with steep drop-offs are likely attack spots, since sharks often
patrol here waiting for natural prey that congregate nearby.
Types Of Attacks
There are three major types of unprovoked shark attacks.
Hit And Run: This is by far the most common form of attack. A shark
will usually attack in an area close to shore where swimmers and
surfers are the most likely targets. The victim of the attack
usually doesn't even see the shark and the shark usually just
inflicts a single bite and leaves. Some believe that these attacks
are most likely cases of mistaken identity, where a shark is unable
to identify its normal prey either because of water clarity or harsh
conditions. It is thought that once the shark takes a bite and
realizes that the prey is quite large or unfamiliar, the animal
releases its grip and leaves. These types of attacks are rarely life
Bump And Bite: This type of attack is less common but usually
results in the most fatalities. The victims in these cases are
usually divers or swimmers in deeper waters. Bump and bite attacks
are typified by a circling shark that bumps into a person before it
attacks. Repeat attacks are common and injuries are usually very
Sneak Attack: The sneak attack is very similar to the bump and bite,
the only difference between the two is that in a sneak attack there
is no bump – the shark attacks without warning. Most shark attacks
that occur during sea disasters are either a bump and bite or hit
and run attack.
Three species of shark have been repeatedly associated with attacks
on people. They are the Great White Shark, Tiger Shark and the Bull
Shark. Each animal is capable of consuming large prey and each can
reach considerable size.
November 20th, 2002, 01:21 PM
This report is based on multiple sources, including several eye-witnesses. I have a moderate degree of confidence in its reliability, but, of course, can make no guarantees.
The victim is 41 year old Michelle Glenn, a long-time resident of Fort Walton Beach, FL. She was on a regularly scheduled Peter Hughes Sea Dancer trip, diving at a site off French Cay. The attack occurred during the first dive of the day, sometime between 8:30 & 9:30 on the morning of Thur, Nov 14, '02.
She had finished her dive, and was snorkeling & taking photos, along with 5-6 others while waiting for her husband & another diver to finish their dive. There were about a half dozen Caribbean reef sharks in the 4-5' range in the area at a fairly shallow depth.
I received no reports of active feeding at that time of the incident, although I have over the past couple of years received a steady trickle of e-mail with complaints from both divers & dive ops of a live-aboard & a land-based op engaging in feeding in this area. My attempts to nail it down have been unsatisfying, so there will be no names. Me personally? I think actions have been taken for some time now to attract the sharks.
In any event, out of the blue water a Caribbean reef shark in the 6-7' range suddenly appeared. In classical attack fashion, it was observed to circle her, brush/bump, and then rapidly dive down & attack from below with a single, lightening fast strike--to the right upper arm to include the right shoulder. There was very significant tissue loss, pretty much the entire muscle mass of the triceps & most of the biceps, leaving exposed bone. The brachial artery was entirely severed.
The massive blood loss that can be occasioned by such a strike hardly requires mention. It was to the diver's great good fortune that her husband, Michael Glenn, a well-known & respected orthopedist in Fort Walton Beach area, and another physician on board, a seasoned vascular surgeon with some gear in his bag (change that "to the diver's astounding good fortune"), were able to substantially stem the hemorrhaging.
A craft from the Turks & Caicos Marine Police Force brought her to shore, where she was then air evacuated by a US Coast Guard Falcon jet to the Coast Guard Air Station at Opa-Locka outside of Miami, and finally taken by air rescue helicopter to the Ryder Trauma Center at the University of Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital. She was admitted in critical condition. I'd say this was quite an accomplishment by all involved given that it was ~8 hours from bite to admission. Among other physicians, she was attended by Dr. Anne Ouellette, an orthopod & Chief of the Hand Surgery Division at the School of Med, who remarked that it was the most damaging shark wound she had yet observed.
About 6 hours of surgery was performed immediately, primarily to repair vascular damage & replace lost muscle using tissue taken from her back. A second procedure was performed the following day, primarily to address nerve damage. Her condition was upgraded to fair, where it has remained. As of now, it looks like the arm has been saved, but how much use she'll have of it remains quite uncertain.
Hopefully this account bears some resemblance to what actually happed to this poor woman.
In closing, I would add that in a style that appears characteristic of Peter Hughes Diving, at least since the Wave Dancer Tragedy http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=17506&highlight=wave+dancer , they were of absolutely no assistance in sorting this out, stonewalling it all the way.
November 20th, 2002, 01:37 PM
As always, thanks Doc. I will be diving in this area in February, 2003 and appreciate the heads up. The fact that the attack occurred at the surface is somewhat reassuring. I don't believe that sharks typically view divers below the surface as potential prey items. I wish the victim a speedy recovery. I hope they can save the arm.
November 21st, 2002, 01:58 PM
Friends of mine were diving the same area when the attack occurred. They also had heard rumors of shark feedings off of the Sea Dancer. The feedings apparently were at night while no divers were in the water.
November 21st, 2002, 02:42 PM
Mrs. Glen's condition has been upgraded to good. She has regained much circulation in her arm. Transplantion of nerves from her leg is scheduled for tomorrow.
November 22nd, 2002, 10:25 AM
I showed this posting to some friends who were in the Turks and Caicos the week prior to this incident. On their dive at French Cay (they were with a different dive operator), they had observed that the Sea Dancer was at the site as well. My friends' DM actually mentioned to them that they might not see sharks on this particular dive because when the Sea Dancer is there the sharks always seem to take off toward that boat, raising suspicion with the other local operators that there is shark feeding going on off of that boat.
Whatever the case, my prayers go out to the woman and her family....what a horrific experience.
November 28th, 2002, 01:16 AM
Yikes!!!!!! I dove the Sea Dancer in July 02' out in French Caye and had an amazing time. There were definately plenty of sharks in the water but no once did I feel threatened by any of them. At one point there were so many in the water I had to wait an entire minute not to land on one as I entered the water from the stern. It was one of my favorite trips over the years; great staff, great food, great boat, great diving! It just points to the fact that nature is truly unpredictable. Hope she has a speedy recovery!
November 28th, 2002, 02:27 AM
knows the victim well.
He is not having a good couple of weeks. Another friend of his was killed right around the same time.
This is one of those "1 in a million" kinds of things. Quite literally, really. Of course if it happens to you then it doesn't matter what the odds are......
My prayers have been going out to Michelle since I first heard of this incident....
December 2nd, 2002, 09:49 PM
Ms. Glen was released to home on Fri. Ultimate usefulness of arm remains very much in doubt.
December 3rd, 2002, 09:39 AM
Thanks for the update Doc.