|Katarina Zarutskie, a 19-year-old Instagram model and nursing student, said she was attacked by a shark while on vacation in the Bahamas|
The 19-year-old Zarutskie, an avid surfer from Laguna Beach, California, and a nursing student, told Fox News she was on vacation with her boyfriend and his family when locals told her about the opportunity to swim with nurse sharks in Staniel Cay.
She added the locals were “very encouraging” in telling her to try the activity.
|Zarutskie said the terrifying encounter was captured on camera by her boyfriend's father. This photo above shows the moment Zarutskie said she was bitten in the arm and dragged under|
“I thought it was safe and I saw kids snorkeling, and against my boyfriend’s family’s wishes I thought it would be fine,” Zarutskie said.
The nursing student recalled everything being fine when she first entered the water until she leaned back and held her arms out.
|Zarutskie said she had to hold her injured arm above the water to prevent the blood from attracting more sharks|
“It was very scary. I was pulled under and I’m very fortunate it was a minor situation. It could have been way worse; they could have all started to attack given that they have a pack mentality,” Zarutskie said.
She added: “Everyone said they could hear the bite. They said it sounded like a big vacuum seal sort of thing and it all happened very fast. I was not screaming and crying. I was staying very calm.”
Zarutskie said her past training for surfing and scuba diving quickly kicked in and helped her in the situation.
She said she was “very blessed” she was able to quickly rip her arm out of the shark’s mouth and cover the wound to prevent blood from getting to the other sharks lurking around.
“If the shark would have got my hand in a different way, I probably would not have been able to get my hand out,” she said.
|Zarutskie shows off the bite mark on her arm after she was bit by a nurse shark while swimming in the Bahamas|
Zarutskie said she did not see a sign where she entered and would have never gone in the water if they were feeding the sharks.
She also said she is not placing blame on anyone for the incident but believes the bite was “all a big accident” and the shark may have mistaken her for a piece of food.
She added: “We will never know.”
|'I am so fortunate that I still have my arm': Zarutskie said she felt lucky to be alive after a shark bit her arm|
They are known to have strong jaws to crush hard food such as shellfish and coral.
|Zarutskie was on vacation with her boyfriend's family when she was attacked by a five-foot-long nurse shark|
“It was a humbling experience and I have learned a lot,” she said.
Despite the scary experience, Zarutskie said she still loves the wildlife and sharks and hopes to bring awareness to the animals. As for returning to Staniel Cay, the California native said she would go back in a heartbeat.
|Zarutskie said she was worried the shark bite would affect her modeling career, but is lucky to still have her arm and be alive|
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