A swimmer has been bitten by a shark while snorkelling off the coast of Cornwall.
The person involved, whose name has not been disclosed, was reportedly bitten on the leg by a blue shark during an excursion near Penzance.
The snorkeller received first aid and, following advice from HM Coastguard, was given further treatment ashore from ambulance crews following the incident last Thursday.
Blue Shark Snorkel Trips, the company that organized the tour, said such incidents were “extremely rare” and they were “in continued talks with shark experts” as to what had happened.
The company said in a statement on its Facebook page: “As we know, these things can happen when we choose to interact with wild animals in their own environment.
“The last thing we want is to let speculation drive the media into a world of bad press for the sharks, through no fault of their own. We immediately enacted our emergency response plan, with first aid being carried out on the person involved.
“Following advice and assessment from the coastguard, the person walked off the boat and received further treatment ashore.”
The firm shared a statement from the victim, who said: “I just wanted to say that despite how the trip ended, it was amazing to see such majestic creatures in the wild and I don’t for a second want this freak event to tarnish the reputation of an already persecuted species.
“Wanted to thank everyone for their amazing actions. What was a very scary incident was made so much easier by the kindness and calmness of the people around me.
“Thank you to the trip team for getting me back to shore quickly and carefully and making me feel as safe as I possibly could. We all take these risks when we enter the habitat of a predator and we can never completely predict the reactions of a wild animal.”
Blue sharks visit the UK during the summer from the Caribbean and are known to mainly feed on small fish and squid. The species has been known to attack seabirds and other small sharks, according to the Wildlife Trusts.
The UK-based charity the Shark Trust says there have been no “unprovoked” shark bites in British waters since 1847 when records began.
HM Coastguard said in a statement: “HM Coastguard sent Penzance Coastguard Rescue Team to meet a snorkeller who suffered a suspected shark bite.
“The coastguard was notified just before 12.30pm on Thursday. It is believed the swimmer suffered a leg injury. The coastguard team met the casualty at Penzance harbor to assist with passing them into the care of the ambulance service.”