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Jaws in Palghar: Bull shark rips fisherman's leg

Updated on: 15 February,2024 06:48 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Diwakar Sharma | diwakar.sharma@mid-day.com

Local fisherman, who is a regular swimmer, has unexpected encounter with shark, which bites his calf off

Jaws in Palghar: Bull shark rips fisherman's leg

The injured left leg after shark attack; (inset) the shark captured by local fishermen and youngsters. Pics/Hanif Patel

Key Highlights

  1. 34-year-old fisherman was attacked by a bull shark in the Vaitarna River
  2. The shark bit off the entire calf of Hitesh’s left leg
  3. His knee is now connected to the ankle

A 34-year-old fisherman, Hitesh Govari, was attacked by a bull shark in the Vaitarna River on Tuesday while swimming. The shark bit off the entire calf of Hitesh’s left leg. His knee is now connected to the ankle only by the remaining bits of his broken bones and some muscles. Govari survived after putting up a tough fight for a few minutes with the predator that entered the river during high tide. This is the first shark bite in Palghar district. The doctor said his injured leg needs to be amputated to prevent infection due to the shark bite. 
 
Govari’s brother, Umesh, told mid-day that Hitesh fought the shark inside the river but lost consciousness only after noticing that a major chunk of flesh had been ripped off.


“My brother would go to swim every evening. The river is connected to the open sea, and seawater meets with the river twice a day during high tide. The shark might have entered the shallow water during high tide,” Umesh said.


The shark captured by local fishermen and youngsters. Pic/Hanif Patel (left) Screengrab showing the four-foot-long fish in the water. The shark captured by local fishermen and youngsters. Pic/Hanif Patel (left) Screengrab showing the four-foot-long fish in the water. 


“We were told that he had been bitten by a shark. So, we rushed to the spot and saw my brother bleeding inside the river. He was fished out immediately, and we noticed that his calf muscle had been ripped off,” Umesh added.

Youngsters and fishermen in the area were alarmed after they heard Govari scream for help.

“After he collapsed in the river, the shark tried to attack him again, but the fishermen came to help, they caught the shark… later, it died. I removed my shirt and picked up another one that my brother had kept aside and  wrapped up the wound with them to stop blood loss and rushed him to the hospital,” Umesh said.

“His blood pressure was dipping alarmingly, and he fell unconscious at a nearby hospital,” said Umesh.

A team from Manor police station and forest officials also reached the spot to take stock of the situation. The forest officials took custody of the shark for further investigation.

The in-charge of Manor police station, Inspector Satish Shivarkar, said, “He was bitten by a four-foot-long shark at 6.30 pm on February 13. He belongs to a tribal community and lives with his family in Manor Dongar village of Palghar district.”

“His left leg got bitten off by almost a 4-inch deep wound. We have learned that his injured leg needs to be amputated below the knee,” Shivarkar told mid-day.

Govari has been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Vinoba Bhave Civil Hospital in Silvasa, where a doctor said, “He is out of danger now. His left leg, which got injured in the shark attack, needs to be amputated. We will operate on Thursday.”

The shark attack created an atmosphere of fear among the local tribal youth in Manor.

Govari lives with his parents, siblings, wife and two children. “The doctors have told us that his leg will be amputated to safeguard his life. We are worried as he has two children and a wife to take care of,” Umesh said.

Marine researcher Bhushan Bhoir from Palghar said, “On February 13, a young boy faced a rare encounter with a bull shark. He fell victim to the first recorded shark attack in the history of local fishing. The bull shark, known for its adaptability to fresh and marine water, showcased a remarkable ability to resist osmosis, a process vital for survival in varying environments.”

Bhoir said that while incidents of shark attacks are documented in Ganges tributaries, this occurrence in Palghar is unprecedented.

4-inch
Depth of wound cause by the shark bite 

6.30 pm
Time when Hitesh Govari was bitten by shark 

With inputs from Ranjeet Jadhav 

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