VIA – SFGATE
Anaia Barnes swims with sharks in the Bahamas. (YouTube)
Parents share YouTube video of 5-year-old swimming with sharks
The Internet is in an uproar over a video of a 5-year-old girl swimming with sharks on a snorkeling trip in the Bahamas. The child’s parents, Elana and David Barnes, posted the video on YouTube intending to share a fun vacation experience, but instead they sparked a feeding frenzy. The Connecticut couple was aggressively attacked by people calling them irresponsible, but people quickly came to their rescue and applauded the parents for giving their child a “great story to tell.”
“I’m an experienced diver who did work for the Oceanic Association scuba diving with sharks and other dangerous fish,” a commenter who goes by luigib0511 posted on YouTube. “What this people have done is an outrage and an extreme stupidity. Swimming with sharks is not a Sea World adventure.”
“People need to back off,” esmire05 countered. “These sharks are not aggressive at all and the 5 year old has great story to tell and will probably learned something out of this. I went diving with great whites and after 10 mins or so I left the safety of my cage to swim with them. Obviously nothing happened to me. People do not realize the reasons for attacks and are pretty ignorant about sharks.”
Elana posted the video a month ago but this week bloggers and news sites spotted the footage and the video quickly went viral. As of this morning, the video had been viewed more than 32,000 times.
The nine-minute video starts with footage of sharks swarming shallow waters close to the beach and then an islander throws out a rope with raw meat at the end and a feeding frenzy begins. At one point Elana tells her daughter, “You can’t go in quite yet because the sharks are still hungry.” After the sharks are done with their lunch, at 5 minutes 33 seconds, 5-year-old Anaia gets in the water, wearing a pink and yellow life vest and a tiny mask and snorkel. And at 5 minutes 49 seconds a frame shows a shark swimming by off in the distance.
Elana explains the experience in a description of the video on YouTube.
We swam with Reef, Lemon, and Nurse sharks, all very low on the aggression index, yet still very thrilling! Put it on your bucket list!
We were with Anaia the whole time, and by the time we were in the water, the shark’s behavior was completely different than the beginning of the video. Plus, they don’t feed the sharks when people are swimming, so the sharks don’t have an association with swimmers and food. This was with a tour of about 40 people, including one other child. (NOT the first kids to do this, by any means.) They’ve done it 20 years with NO incidents. These sharks are not known to attack, and if you think all sharks are equal, please look at the difference between a Doberman and a Pomeranian….get it?
Just how dangerous are these sharks? Shark attacks are rare with about 75 occurring worldwide annually. “Nurse sharks are slow-moving bottom-dwellers and are, for the most part, harmless to humans,” according to National Geographic. Lemon and Caribbean reef sharks are generally not a threat to humans, but John Lenzycki of the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Conn., told News 8, that these species will attack when provoked.
“Would I intentionally do that? I honestly…”
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