Shark rams into S.E.A. Aquarium worker's face during feeding time

Tourists at the S.E.A  Aquarium. When TNP visited the aquarium at about 5pm yesterday, it was business as usual.
Tourists at the S.E.A Aquarium. When TNP visited the aquarium at about 5pm yesterday, it was business as usual. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - Animals can be unpredictable. A worker at the S.E.A. Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa found this out the hard - and painful - way  on Thursday (July 23) when a shark suddenly rammed its snout into his face.

The bump on the aquarist’s left cheek was severe enough to draw blood and have him sent to the hospital for treatment.

He is believed to have been feeding the marine animals inside the Open Ocean aquarium when the incident happened at about 3.30pm.

An on-site first aid team assessed his injury before calling for an ambulance.

  • Previous attacks

  • 2012

    A diver at the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium was bitten by a 40cm-long tawny shark during feeding time. She suffered at least three lacerations on the right of her mouth.

  • 2011

    A worker at Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium was taken to hospital after getting stung on her arm by a stingray during feeding time.
    Another man was stung on his knee after accidentally kneeling on a stingray during a dive feed.

  • 2010

    A SeaWorld trainer died after being attacked by a killer whale during a live show at the Orlando theme park in Florida, US.
    The trainer was at a shallow ledge at the side of the pool when the whale snagged her ponytail and yanked her into the water.

An RWS spokesman said in a statement: “An aquarist at our S.E.A. Aquarium suffered from a minor laceration on his left cheek while attending to the marine animals. He has received treatment at the hospital.

“We take utmost priority in ensuring the safety of our team members and have strict safety guidelines in place.”

The aquarist was treated at Singapore General Hospital and discharged. A Singapore Civil Defence Force spokesman said that a man was taken conscious to hospital with lacerations on his left cheek.

The New Paper understands that the shark was less than a metre long. The type of shark involved is not known. There are at least five species of sharks in the S.E.A. Aquarium.

Marine biologist Alison Kock told The New Paper in an e-mail interview that shark attacks, while unpredictable, are location-specific, species-specific and activity-specific.

The research manager at South Africa’s non-profit group, Shark Spotters, also said that whether the sharks are in captivity or in the wild, attacks are “extremely rare”.

“The two most common reasons are related to feeding or defence.”

When TNP visited the aquarium at about 5pm on Thursday, it was business as usual.


Sharks at RWS

SANDBAR SHARK
They feed on small bottom feeders, molluscs and crustaceans, and can grow up to 2.4m in length.

WHITETIP REEF SHARK
These nocturnal feeders usually hunt in packs in shallow reefs early in the evenings. They can grow up to 2m in length.

TAWNY NURSE SHARK
These nocturnal creatures can camouflage themselves with slight colour changes and can grow up to 3.2m in length.

GREY REEF SHARK
These sharks are considered extinct in many areas as they are hunted for their fins. They can grow up to 2.55m in length.

SCALLOPED HAMMERHEAD SHARK
They are known to congregate in schools of 200, and can grow up to 4.2m in length.