An eight-year-old boy was bitten by a tiny nurse shark in the Bahamas recently after his parents were assured by the organizers of a swimming expedition the shark was “harmless.” 

Asher Jones' parents told Sun they allowed him to participate in an organized swim in the sea off the Exuma Cays resort after they were assured the tiny sharks were harmless. Jones was moving around in the knee-deep water when the shark snapped at his shoulder. Panic spread as people heard his screams.

“I heard Asher scream – and not just any scream, the kind of scream that makes a mum’s world go into slow motion. Just thinking about his scream makes me feel sick and makes my heart rate go up,” his mother Christine said.

“My husband, Jeremy, not only heard Asher scream, but saw the shark go after him and quickly sprung into action, grabbing the shark. The shark then released and swam away,” she added.

“Asher was very lucky. The shark’s upper jaw got him along the spine of his scapula. I think this, along with Jeremy quickly pulling the shark off, prevented it from really latching on and the bite from going deeper – or worse, taking Asher under the water. It could easily have pulled Asher under where there would have been five other sharks, chum, people panicking and a bleeding little boy. This could have been a recipe for disaster and serious injury,” she continued.

Jones said he too believed he was about to be killed. “It was horrifying,” he said.

“At first I thought it was my dad pretending, but then I was like ‘no, my dad would not try to hurt me’ because it was digging into my freaking flesh. It was the most scary thing in my entire life,” he said.

Medics reached the spot and cleaned his wound. He was told there was no need for stitches.

“We were told that nurse sharks are docile and non-aggressive scavenger fish, and if you want to pet them make sure you only touch the top of their heads and backs. We were told they may suck on you and to keep the children's hands out of the water. At one point I said to my husband ‘it sounds like we are getting in the water with puppies, not sharks.’ So, we let our kids get in,” his mother said.

shark The fin of a shark breaks the surface near the 'Miracle' beach in Tarragona city, Spain, Aug. 20, 2007. Photo: LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images

“I understand that nurse sharks are wild animals and that wild animal interactions are difficult to predict. However, after doing some research about nurse sharks and the risks of interaction, I would not now allow my children to get into the water and interact the way they did, especially with chum being thrown in,” she added.

The boy overcame the shock after few days of nightmares about the horrifying incident.

“Once he realised he was okay, he was really amazing. He experienced many intense emotions in a short amount of time. He started with sheer terror – he literally thought he was going to die – to extreme joy in realising he was okay and had the best story ever to tell! I watched Asher stand a little taller that day,” Christine explained.