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Snorkeler 'bitten' in suspected shark attack in UK's Cornish coast

CNN logo CNN 8/2/2022 Tamara Hardingham-Gill

A snorkeler has sustained a leg injury after apparently being “bitten by a shark” while snorkeling off the coast of Cornwall in southwestern England.

The unnamed woman was rescued by the Her Majesty’s Coastguard after the incident, believed to be the first shark attack of this kind in British waters since 1874, which took place near Penzance on Thursday.

HM Coastguard has since confirmed that a rescue team was dispatched to offer assistance after the suspected shark attack.

“HM Coastguard sent Penzance Coastguard Rescue Team to meet a snorkeler who suffered a suspected shark bite,” a statement from a spokesperson from the Maritime Coastguard Agency said.

“The coastguard was notified just before 12:30 p.m. on Thursday (July 28). It is believed the swimmer suffered a leg injury.

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“The coastguard team met the casualty at Penzance harbour to assist with passing them into the care of the ambulance service.”

Reports suggest that the woman may have been on a blue shark spotting snorkeling trip when the incident took place. However, no further details have been provided about the snorkeler’s current condition, or the type of shark that may have been involved.

While the US has the highest annual number of documented shark bites in the world, with a total of 47 reported in 2021, the presence of sharks in British waters is very rare.

In fact, there have been no unprovoked shark bites here in 175 years, according to UK charitable organization The Shark Trust.

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