A relaxing swim in the ocean after a day of training suddenly changed when a shark got close to a coast guard group, prompting crewmembers to fire shots in the water to scare the animal away.
Members of the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball had completed operations for the day “a zillion miles from land” and “had not been off the ship for weeks,” they said in a Facebook post describing the encounter. USCGC Kimball is based in Honolulu.
The group decided to go for a swim complete with an inflatable unicorn, and utilized a “fully vetted and tested plan we’ve used before” which included safety briefs, a small boat stationed 50 yards out and “an armed shark watch.”
Then, over the radio, a call comes over “shark!”
“As if right out of a Hollywood movie, a 6-8 foot shark (no exaggeration) surfaced at the Rescue Door and was swimming toward 30-40 people in the water about 30 feet away. Everyone on the Flight Deck had a bird's eye view. A review of video shot by a crew member reveals it was likely a Long-Fin Mako or Pelagic Thresher Shark - not something to mess with!” the social media post reads.
Video shared by the crew shows shots being fired into the water.
“It turned away for a few seconds then turned back. We kept directing people out of the water while keeping a clear line of sight on the shark,” the group says.
The shark kept circling back toward the group of swimmers after each burst of gunfire. The group of swimmers quickly got out of the water and onboard the boats.
“All hands are safe and accounted for. We even saved the inflatable unicorn!”
The only reported injury was a small scrap while a crewmember was climbing onboard.
“But where was it located you ask? On his knee....in the center of a tattoo. What tattoo you ask? An open set of shark's teeth. Seriously, you can't make this up!”
Everyone is safe, including the shark. A few of its “buddies” showed up later and they swam off together.