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Dramatic video shows Coast Guard Watch opening fire on 8-foot shark amid crew’s swim time

Dramatic footage has captured the moment a Coast Guard Watch opened fire on an eight-foot shark when it swam into the midst of the crew’s swim time in the Pacific, sending shipmates into a panic as they scrambled to get out of the sea to safety.  

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 closing in on 40 crew members enjoying a swim 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’. 

Video footage has emerged of the close encounter with the deadly predator, revealing the terrifying moment the shark is spotted making a beeline for the crew members enjoying a dip in the ocean. 

The footage begins with shots being fired into the water at the shark as shipmates – just feet away – frantically swim in the opposite direction. 

The shark turned away from its prey briefly but then turned back making its way toward the crew members again.

‘It’s going that way, it’s going that way,’ one voice is heard shouting, as a dark shadow is seen beneath the surface.

‘It’s heading for the bow,’ they say, as it nears the small board stationed as part of the tried and tested safety protocol.  

‘It’s turning back,’ a couple of people are then heard shouting. 

Cintron opens fire again to keep the shark from his shipmates as it veers back in the direction of the group in the water.

Voices can be heard shouting ‘move, move, move’ as the video pans out to show the shipmates scrambling for safety swimming in various directions headed for the Jacob’s ladder, the ship’s small boat launch and the small boat.

Cintron fires again, this time in close proximity to a group of swimmers as the shark made another attempt to reach its prey. 

Crew members help pull each other out of the water onto the boats until everyone – including the inflatable unicorn – is safely away from the predator’s reach. 

As the final few make it back on board the boat, the unicorn falls overboard and a couple of crew members point to their fallen inflatable comrade as it drifted out to sea. 

The footage then hones in on the shark which is still swimming close by the boat and where the crew were swimming just moments earlier.   

The close shave with the predator occurred when crew members organized a swim call Wednesday 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.  

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 the shark was spotted in the waters, the Facebook post read. 

‘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,’ it said.   

‘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.   

Everyone – including the unicorn – lived to tell the tale, the Facebook post confirmed.  

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!’ 

The crew said the shark was likely a Long-Fin Mako or Pelagic Thresher Shark based on the footage. 

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.  

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