81ºF

Alaska man bitten by shark while fishing in Florida Keys

Jonathan Lester suffers severe hand injury in April shark attack

Jonathan Lester, 34, of Wasilla, Alaska, was bitten by a shark in April while fishing in the Florida Keys. (Courtesy of FWC)
Jonathan Lester, 34, of Wasilla, Alaska, was bitten by a shark in April while fishing in the Florida Keys. (Courtesy of FWC) (FWC)

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – An Alaska man vacationing in the Florida Keys was bitten by a shark last month while holding a fish that he had just caught over the side of his boat, according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report obtained Monday by Local 10 News.

Jonathan Lester, 34, of Wasilla, Alaska, was treated at Fisherman's Hospital for a severe injury to his hand after the April 7 shark attack.

According to the FWC report, Officer Kyle Plussa was on board a U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat when authorities were notified of a shark bite victim near the Content Keys. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service boat arrived first and transferred Lester to the Coast Guard patrol boat.

Lester told Plussa that he caught a fish, removed the hook and was attempting to revive the fish by leaning over the boat and placing the fish's gills in the water when a 5- or 6-foot shark attacked the fish, biting his left hand in the process. Lester said he did his best to maneuver his motorboat to another nearby boater, who helped him wrap his hand in his shirt to stop the bleeding.

Plussa wrote in the report that there was a large laceration -- about 1 ½ inches deep -- on Lester's hand, extending from the top thumb knuckle to below the bend in the wrist joint. Plussa wrote that Lester's hand was dark purple and limp, and his left arm was significantly paler than his right arm.

Lester lost a significant amount of blood and began to suffer shock.

Plussa said Lester's left foot was completely covered in blood. He said pressure was applied to the wound in an attempt to close it and stop the bleeding.

The report didn't say what became of Lester.


About the Author: