A Coast Guard Watch opened fire on an eight-foot shark when it closed in on 40 crew members enjoying a swim call in the Pacific.
Maritime Enforcement Specialist 1st Class Cintron, designated shark watch on board the US Coast Guard Cutter Kimball, fired shots at the Long-Fin Mako or Pelagic Thresher shark Wednesday when it was spotted making a beeline for his shipmates who were swimming in the ocean.
All crew members – as well as a huge inflatable unicorn – escaped unscathed following the surprise encounter with the sea predator.
The sea story was regaled in a post on the US Coast Guard Cutter Kimball Facebook page, where the lucky crew said they will be ‘retelling the story for years’.
The close shave with the deadly predator occurred when crew members organized a swim call as a treat after a hard day of work on board the cutter.
The weather was ‘perfect’, there were no other ships around and the cutter was stationed ‘a zillion miles from land’, according to the Facebook post.
Crew members leaped into the sea together with swim fins and a huge inflatable unicorn for a much-needed break from monotony.
A plan was in place to ensure the safety of the crew including safety briefs, an accountability system, manned rescue station and a designated armed shark watch.
A small boat with extra crew and a swimmer was also stationed 50 yards away.
The tried and tested protocols then kicked in when a shark was spotted in the waters headed straight for around 30 to 40 shipmates.
‘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,’ read the Facebook post.
Designated shark watch Clintron leaped into action, firing a shot on top of the dangerous predator.
Shipmates scrambled for safety from the shark swimming for the Jacob’s ladder, the ship’s small boat launch or the small boat.
The shark turned away from its prey briefly but then turned back making its way toward the crew members again.
Cintron opened fire again to keep the shark from his shipmates until everyone – including the inflatable unicorn – was safely out of the water and away from the predator’s reach.
‘It wasn’t the panic of the 4th of July scene from JAWS, but once everyone realized what was happening, they moved with a purpose!’ read the Facebook post.
The only injury was a graze on a crew member’s knee from his clamber back on board the ship.
The scratch was in the center of a tattoo of an open set of shark’s teeth, according to the Facebook post: ‘Seriously, you can’t make this up!’
Footage on board the ship revealed in the aftermath that the shark was likely a Long-Fin Mako or Pelagic Thresher Shark.
The crew said in the Facebook post a shark sighting during a swim call is rare and something none of the crew members had ever experienced before.
‘We have hundreds of years at sea between all of us and no one has seen or heard of a shark actually showing up during a swim call,’ the post read.
‘This goes to show why we prepare for any and everything. We just didn’t think it would be a swim call shark attack!
‘This is a sea story each of us will be retelling for YEARS!!!’
In 2009, the crew of the submarine Hawaii encountered a shark at a swim call but no shots were fired, reported Military.com.
The exact location of the latest close encounter in the Pacific is not clear as the Coast Guard cannot divulge the Kimball’s specific location or missions for national security reasons.
The Kimball is one of the Coast Guard’s newest cutters, commissioned in August 2019.