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‘It was like a scene from Jaws’ says father of Bahamas shark attack boy, eight

British schoolboy Finley Downer had to be pulled to safety by his sister after he was attacked by nurse sharks while swimming in a lagoon.

08 August 2022

An eight-year-old British boy has suffered a shark attack while on holiday in the Bahamas, in what his father described as “like a scene out of Jaws”.

Finley Downer had to be pulled to safety by his sister after he was attacked by around three nurse sharks while swimming in a lagoon last week.

He suffered flesh wounds after being bitten on both legs, and had to be taken to a local health clinic on a golf buggy before undergoing a three-hour operation in the capital Nassau.

Finley’s father, Michael Downer, 44, told The Sun his son “could have been killed” in the attack, adding: “It was like a scene out of Jaws”.

Mr Downer, who had taken his children Finley, eight, Lily, nine, and Emily, 12, on a luxury holiday, said the family had been part way through their five-island tour when the attack took place at Compass Cay.

He said the children had decided to join a crowd of people in a lagoon, in which nurse sharks were swimming.

Mr Downer said he suddenly “heard a terrified scream and saw dozens (of sharks) circling Finley”.

“There was so much blood. Bits of his leg were hanging off.

“He kept saying, ‘Dad I don’t want to die. Dad, I don’t want to go to heaven’.”

Nurse sharks in Compass Cay in the Bahamas (Alamy/PA)

Finley was pulled from the water by his older sister Lily, and Mr Downer had to spend £2,000 on flights to the Bahamas capital, Nassau, for a three-hour operation on Finley’s legs.

The family has now returned home to Kettering, Northamptonshire, where Finley is recovering from his injuries and using a wheelchair.

In an interview with The Sun, Mr Downer expressed his anger at being told by tour guides the sharks were safe.

Operator Exuma Escapes claimed in a statement to the newspaper that the family went unguided into a lagoon which it does not use on its tour, adding that nurse sharks are docile bottom-feeders unless they are handled incorrectly.

PA has approached the tour operator for comment.

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