'I knew I couldn't get blood in the water': Instagram model, 19, reveals how she went into survival mode after she was attacked while posing with sharks in the Bahamas
- Katarina Zarutskie, 19, was bitten by a nurse shark during Bahamas vacation
- Zarutskie wanted to 'connect with nature' and swim with a group of nurse sharks
- Said that 'a lot of the locals' encouraged her to jump in the shark-infested waters
- When shark bit her and pulled her underwater, she immediately lifted her arm
- Adrenaline kicked in and Zarutskie knew she had to get out of the water quickly
The Instagram model who was attacked by a shark while swimming in the Bahamas said she saw it as an opportunity to 'connect with nature'.
Katarina Zarutskie, a 19-year-old model and nursing student, had jumped right in the water when she saw a group of nurse sharks off the coast of Staniel Cay island.
But what was supposed to be a memorable adventure - and a killer Instagram shot - soon turned dangerous when a shark bit Zarutskie's arm and dragged her under the water.
Zarutskie told Good Morning America that 'a lot of the locals' had encouraged her to go in and swim with the sharks.
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Katarina Zarutskie, a 19-year-old Instagram model and nursing student, was attacked by a nurse shark while on vacation in the Bahamas
Zarutskie said that when the shark bit her, it sounded like a 'big vacuum seal'. The next thing she knew, she was underwater
So she was completely caught by surprise when one shark got her between his teeth.
'When he bit me, supposedly it sounded like a big vacuum seal,' she said. 'Next thing I knew I was underwater.'
Zarutskie said she then immediately lifted her arm above her head.
'I knew I couldn't get my blood in the water,' she added. 'When they see blood that means food.'
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
Zarutskie said she had to hold her injured arm above the water to prevent the blood from attracting more sharks
Zarutskie said adrenaline kicked in during the moment and she knew she 'just needed to get out of the water'. Pictured is her bite mark
'Adrenaline was kicking in and I knew I just needed to get out of the water.'
Zarutskie, a student at the University of Miami, was on vacation with her boyfriend's family when she was attacked. She said her boyfriend's father captured the terrifying encounter on camera.
In one image, the Laguna Beach native is seen wearing a blue bikini floating on her back in the water with her arms outstretched. About a dozen nurse shark are just inches away.
Another photo captures the exact moment Zarutskie was attacked. In the image, she appears to be splashing in the water as several nurse sharks surround her.
Zarutskie told Good Morning America that 'a lot of the locals' had encouraged her to go in and swim with the sharks
Zarutskie said the shark she came in contact with was five-feet long. Pictured is a bite mark from the incident
A third picture shows her holding her injured arm above the water. She shared the photos on her Instagram page with the caption: 'PSA: Sharks DO bite'.
Zarutskie said the shark she came in contact with was five-feet long.
'I was pulled underwater for a few seconds and then ripped my wrist out of the shark's mouth as fast as I could,' she told NBC News.
After freeing her arm from the shark's mouth, Zarutskie said she swam to some nearby steps and climbed out of the water.
Zarutskie (pictured with a bandage over her bite) said she felt lucky to be alive after the attack
Zarutskie was on vacation with her boyfriend's family when she was attacked by a five-foot-long nurse shark
Zarutskie said she was worried the shark bite would affect her modeling career, but is lucky to still have her arm and be alive
The model and University of Miami student admitted that she did not use a tour company when she decided to swim with the sharks
She went to a local clinic to have her wound cleaned and wrapped, but said she flew to Florida for further treatment when she learned that shark bites have a high risk of getting infected.
Daniel Hocker, who owns Staniel Cay marina, said that there is a sign near the spot Zarutskie was swimming warning people of shark attacks.
'These animals are considered quite docile but can and do bite on occasion,' he told the outlet. 'Normally when they mistake a hand or fingers for a piece of food'.
Zarutskie said she didn't see the sign and did not swim with the sharks through a tour company or local organization.
She said her boyfriend's family was 'freaking out' when she told them she wanted to swim with the sharks, but she decided to do it anyway.
'(The doctors) now believe that I still have pieces of the shark teeth in my arm and I will forever have a scar,' she said, adding that she was worried the shark bite could affect her modeling career.
'I am so fortunate that I still have my arm and my life.'
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