A swimmer has been bitten by a blue shark off the coast of Cornwall while on a snorkelling trip.
The swimmer needed help from emergency services after suffering a bite to the leg near Penzance on Thursday.
Blue Shark Snorkel Trips, the company that organised the tour, said such incidents were “extremely rare” and they were “in continued talks with shark experts” as to what happened.
Blue sharks visit the UK during the summer months from the Caribbean, and are known to mainly feed on small fish and squid, but have been known to attack seabirds and other small sharks, according to the Wildlife Trusts.
UK-based charity the Shark Trust says there have been no “unprovoked” shark bites in British waters since 1847, when records began.
“As we know, these things can happen when we choose to interact with wild animals in their own environment,” Blue Shark Snorkel Trips said in a statement on its Facebook page.
“The last thing we want is to let speculation drive the media into a world of bad press for the sharks, under no fault of their own.
“We immediately enacted our emergency response plan, with first aid being carried out on the person involved.
“Following advice and assessment from the coastguard, the person walked off the boat and received further treatment ashore.”
The firm also shared a statement from the victim, who said: “Despite how the trip ended, it was amazing to see such majestic creatures in the wild and I don’t for a second want this freak event to tarnish the reputation of an already persecuted species.
“Wanted to thank everyone for their amazing actions. What was a very scary incident was made so much easier by the kindness and calmness of the people around me.”
HM Coastguard said in a statement: “HM Coastguard sent Penzance Coastguard Rescue Team to meet a snorkeler who suffered a suspected shark bite.
“The coastguard was notified just before 12.30pm on Thursday. It is believed the swimmer suffered a leg injury.
“The coastguard team met the casualty at Penzance harbour to assist with passing them into the care of the ambulance service.”