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Sharks take down boat

FEB. 7 — The crew of a Florida shrimp boat needed rescuing last week after the vessel was apparently attacked and sunk by sharks.

A group of bull sharks had been slamming into the hull of the Christy Nichole for several days before a 14-foot shark broke the vessel’s tail shaft Jan. 25, according to a report in Florida’s News-Press newspaper. Without use of the propeller, the vessel was adrift about 100 miles off Fort Myers Beach, Fla., and began taking on water.

“The boat started shaking real bad,” Christy Nichole’s captain, Roger Schmall, says in the report.

The crew used pumps to try to keep the vessel afloat, the report says. About two hours after the collision a nearby shrimper rescued the Christy Nichole crew and took the boat under tow.

Schmall remained on board to continue pumping water, the report says. But in 6- to 8-foot seas with heavy rain, the Christy Nichole sank within a couple of hours.

“The bad weather is what really did it to us,” says Schmall, who got off the boat shortly before it sank. “The propeller broke loose and it ripped out the back end of the boat.”

Jason Fell