A brave diver effectively hypnotized a shark in distress, long enough to give it some life-saving first aid.
Michael Dornellas was freediving without an air tank off the Florida coast when the shark approached him. With a large hook caught in its mouth, the 10-foot dusky shark was face to face with a person who just happened to have the right amount of skill, expertise, and courage to help.
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The marine conservationist works around sharks and has seen the damage hooks can do. Some will rust away and let the shark recover from the cut, but this was a stainless steel hook. Since it was rust resistant, it might remain in the fish’s mouth for its whole life causing damage or even killing the animal.
Dornellas knew he had to help, but he also needed to use extreme caution around the shark’s mouth–and he had to do it all while holding his breath.
The diver carefully approached the shark, distracting it by rubbing its snout as he expertly rolled the predator onto its back.
The maneuver causes something called “tonic immobility,” a kind of temporary paralysis in sharks. It’s similar to a hypnotic trance.
With the shark subdued, Dornellas had only a brief window of time to extract the hook.
Once the hook was removed, the shark came out of its trance-like state and swam away, and Dornellas could bolt back above the water to puff out his chest — with some pride, and much-needed deep breaths.
(WATCH the video from Barcroft TV below) — Photo: Jose Debassa, Video
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