A TikTok user took to the video sharing site to recount the story of how she “won” a confrontation with a lemon shark that had latched onto her foot by punching it repeatedly in the face.
Heather West, 42, aka @wildwitchofthew3st on TikTok, said in a series of videos posted to the site that she was snorkeling off Dry Tortugas National Park with friends late last month, and they had intended to head to Loggerhead Key to visit the Little Africa reef, but turned back toward land due to choppy conditions.
West said she was the last member of her party in the water when she felt something tug on her foot.
“I immediately turned and when I did, I felt something snatch my foot. My brain couldn’t really comprehend what was going on and I thought one of the guys had grabbed my foot, trying to scare me,” West said in one of the videos.
West said she realized it was a shark grasping onto her flipper when it started to pull and its teeth went through the rubber to break her skin.
West said she used her fists to repeatedly punch the shark in the face until it let go, a struggle that lasted about 30 seconds.
“As soon as I get on the beach, I look down and see that my foot is still there so I get really excited and started screaming and was like ‘I won, I won, I won,'” she said.
West said the damage to her foot was severe, so she was taken to Key West via seaplane for medical treatment. She said it took 20 stitches to repair her tendons.
West said she believes the shark was a lemon shark, which are generally considered among the least dangerous species of shark, accounting for only a small percentage of attacks worldwide.