No this is not from my wife
11:00 - 20 September 2003
Tv cameras have captured the agonising moment when a 350lb bull shark attacked a man convinced yoga would protect him from one of nature's most dangerous predators. The shark's razor-sharp teeth tore a chunk out of scientist Erich Ritter's leg as he stood in waters off a Bahamian beach that had been heavily baited with fish parts, it was revealed yesterday.
He suffered massive blood loss before being attended by first aiders and flown to hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida for treatment in intensive care.
The Discovery Channel will broadcast the incident on Sunday next week, claiming it as the first TV footage of a shark attack on a human being.
They say his brush with death has provided a unique insight into how and why different breeds of shark bite.
Dr Ritter's terrifying ordeal was filmed from above and below the water as he stood bare-legged in the shallows trying to attract sharks for a scientific study.
He had persuaded himself that special breathing techniques would safeguard him from an attack.
He practised yoga to reduce his heartbeat when swimming with sharks to make them believe he was a fellow predator and not prey.
Before the attack, he claimed that because of his ability to understand the sharks' body language he had never even been "nipped".
But the 43-year-old behavioural scientist badly miscalculated when a remora, a semi-parasitical fish associated with sharks, swam between his legs in search of shelter.
One of the sharks pursuing the remora missed the fish in the low visibility and sank its teeth deep into his left calf.
Dr Ritter, who spent six weeks in hospital, admitted he was lucky to be alive.
"When my conscious mind finally kicked in, I had the impression everything had slowed down around me. The pain was excruciating, but there was something else.
"I was not angry, upset or anything like that, but I just understood what had happened, and what had to be done," said Dr Ritter.
"On my way to the hospital I started to get cold, and I felt disconnected to what had happened to me. Then I found some form of peace and acceptance that I may die."
The two-hour documentary, Anatomy of a Shark Bite, sets out to discover whether all species of shark bite the same way and examines the amazing strength of the shark's powerful jaws.
Dr Ritter was bitten while carrying out research on the island of Walker's Cay, famous for its large population of sharks.
Unless provoked, the bull sharks of Walker's Cay are generally placid and conservationists have even used them as evidence that sharks are not the indiscriminate killers many people suppose.
The documentary is being screened on 'Shark Sunday', when the Discovery Channel is also showing Great Whites Down Under (8am), Ancient Sharks (5pm), Top Ten Shark Encounters (6pm) and Air Jaws 2 (8pm).