‘It was like a scene from Jaws’ says father of Bahamas shark attack boy, eight

·2 min read

An eight-year-old British boy has suffered a shark attack while on holiday in the Bahamas, in what his father described as “like a scene out of Jaws”.

Finley Downer had to be pulled to safety by his sister after he was attacked by around three nurse sharks while swimming in a lagoon last week.

He suffered flesh wounds after being bitten on both legs, and had to be taken to a local health clinic on a golf buggy before undergoing a three-hour operation in the capital Nassau.

Finley’s father, Michael Downer, 44, told The Sun his son “could have been killed” in the attack, adding: “It was like a scene out of Jaws”.

Mr Downer, who had taken his children Finley, eight, Lily, nine, and Emily, 12, on a luxury holiday, said the family had been part way through their five-island tour when the attack took place at Compass Cay.

He said the children had decided to join a crowd of people in a lagoon, in which nurse sharks were swimming.

Mr Downer said he suddenly “heard a terrified scream and saw dozens (of sharks) circling Finley”.

“There was so much blood. Bits of his leg were hanging off.

“He kept saying, ‘Dad I don’t want to die. Dad, I don’t want to go to heaven’.”

Nurse sharks in Compass Cay in the Bahamas (Alamy/PA)
Nurse sharks in Compass Cay in the Bahamas (Alamy/PA)

Finley was pulled from the water by his older sister Lily, and Mr Downer had to spend £2,000 on flights to the Bahamas capital, Nassau, for a three-hour operation on Finley’s legs.

The family has now returned home to Kettering, Northamptonshire, where Finley is recovering from his injuries and using a wheelchair.

In an interview with The Sun, Mr Downer expressed his anger at being told by tour guides the sharks were safe.

Operator Exuma Escapes claimed in a statement to the newspaper that the family went unguided into a lagoon which it does not use on its tour, adding that nurse sharks are docile bottom-feeders unless they are handled incorrectly.

PA has approached the tour operator for comment.