A Coast Guard watchman fired shots at an eight-foot shark that was closing in on 40 crew members taking advantage of the sun and sea during a swim call in the Pacific on Wednesday. Maritime Enforcement Specialist 1st Class Samuel Clintron open-fired at a Long-Fin Mako also known as a Pelagic Thresher shark when it was spotted heading towards his shipmates.
It was a sunny day out in the Pacific as the crew of the national security US Coast Guard Cutter Kimball was enjoying a well-planned swim call for its 40 crew members. The entire event was fully manned with a rescue swimmer in place on a small boat with extra crew that was stationed 50 yards away from the swimming party. The crew had also undergone safety briefs as well as an accountability system along with a designated armed shark watch to ensure the safety of its Coasties.
With their swim fins and a massive inflatable unicorn, the crew jumped into the water to enjoy the perfect weather and a much needed break. All their safety protocols were tried and tested when designated shark watch ME1 Clintron leaped into action, firing shots at the shark that was about 30 feet away from his shipmates.
In an article from Military.com, ME1 Clintron locked on the shark target, and under orders of his chief, fired -- a "well-aimed burst right at/on top of the shark to protect shipmates just feet away."
"ME1 fired bursts as needed to keep the shark from his shipmates with amazing accuracy. The shark would wave off with each burst but kept coming back toward our shipmates," according to the post.
The crew scrambled to safety and swam for the ship's ladder as the shark was seen briefly swimming away from the crew. It doubled back and made a beeline towards the crew again which had ME1 Clintron firing shots at it once more to keep the shark away until everyone was safe and out of the water.
A Coast Guard public affairs spokesman said the shark was not harmed during the encounter.
The crew described the close shave with the predator as something "right out of a Hollywood movie."
"It wasn't the panic of the 4th of July scene from JAWS, but once everyone realised what was happening, they moved with a purpose!"
The only injury reported was a graze on the knee of a crew member from his clamber back on board the ship. Each crew member was safe and accounted for including the inflatable unicorn.