US Shark Attack Amputee Defends Bahamas Dive Company: ‘They Do Not Deserve This and It Really Pisses Me Off’

Seventy-three-year-old Heidi Ernst, an American scuba diver whose leg was amputated when she was bitten by a shark in Grand Bahama last week, is defending the Grand Bahama Scuba Dive Center after it was hit with hate mails and negative reviews.

“They are not only the best dive shop but also saved my life,” she retorted.

Ernest said of the criticisms levelled against the scuba dive company since the attack, “They do not deserve this and it really pisses me off…It is uncalled for and so hurtful to people, my friends to be under attack.”

Ernst was climbing a ladder after finishing her dive when a shark grabbed her by the leg.

“I didn’t even see him approach me. He came from below, and it was just like a truck hit me. It was just like a scene out of a horror movie,” she told ABC7NY.

Ernst, an experienced scuba diver, then struck the shark to get it to open its jaw and praised her friend for his quick thinking in saving her life.

She was stabilized at the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport and then taken by air ambulance to Jackson Ryder Trauma Center in Miami, FL. The extent of the wound and the infection required Ernest’s left leg amputation.

“She [the doctor] reconnected the nerves to muscles which promotes a good outcome with less pain and things like neuromas. And then she closed it up. Post-surgery is very painful and they had difficulty controlling my pain for almost two days,” she said.

Friends are seeking to raise $30,000 to assist with her medical expenses not covered by insurance, travel expenses to get her back home, travel expenses to get her to and from therapy appointments when she has returned home and other modifications needed in her home for physical assistance.

Ernst’s horror details circulated the international media and may have spurred criticisms at the dive company. “It was harmless consent on my part and now friends are being attacked. Please if you hear anyone badmouthing them, stop it in its tracks.”

Ernst said she will continue diving and has been looking for fins suited for amputees.

Sharks Likely Killed Missing Teen Camrone Robbins, Some Suggest

Since search and rescue efforts failed to locate Cameron Robbins, the American high school graduate who reportedly jumped into Bahamian waters last week while on vacation, theories have swirled this week that the teen was possibly killed by a shark.

Sharks are common sightings in Bahamian waters though attacks are infrequent. And the waters near Anthol Island are reported to be ‘infested’ with the marine predators.

The Black Beard’s Revenge party boat in which Robbins was a passenger, was in the area of Anthol Island, near Paradise Island, when the 18-year-old reportedly lept overboard on a dare, in just trunks and without a floating device.

In a newly released video, passengers panicked as he swam in the dark ocean, and some are urging him to hold onto a floating device in the water, but he swims in another direction. This puzzled many viewers and some point to an object or shape in the water that resembles a shark. This, many say, could be a reasonable cause for Robbins’ decision to swim away from the boat when he was being encouraged to swim closer.

Cameron Robbins in the video.

Commodore of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Raymond King, whose organization led the search and rescue mission alongside US Coast Guards before efforts were suspended, said, “I can tell you that area where an individual (Cameron Robbins) reportedly jumped over, it’s an area that is really shark-infested as well. It is so unfortunate but I don’t want the family to lose hope.”

Some believe the image in the upper left corner, is a shark.

tHEKing presumes Robbins is dead, further stating that “the probability of survival decreases significantly particularly if a person did not have on a life vest and particularly if a person is perceived to be intoxicated.”

In 2017, American citizen Tiffany Johnson was snorkelling in waters near Anthol Island and lost her arm when a tiger shark attacked. And, in 2022, Caroline DiPlacido was on vacation and snorkelling near Green Cay which is 2 miles west of Anthol Island, when she was killed by a bull shark.

It has been a week since Robbins went missing without a trace and his family who helped search, has since returned to Baton Rouge, Louisianna.