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05/24/2007 Beth Firchau (Virginia)

Posted: Thu May 24, 2007 3:58 pm
by sharkbait
Aquarium worker bitten by shark

02:44 PM EDT on Thursday, May 24, 2007

By Patrick Terpstra, 13News

Watch the report The curator of fishes at the Virginia Aquarium was bitten by a shark as it came out of sedation from a physical.

The 94-pound, 10-year-old black-tipped reef shark named Tidbit bit Beth Firchau on her left shin. The injury required stitches and Firchau was taken to the hospital.

The incident occurred outside the tank, away from public view, officials said, but there were several dozen aquarium employees there.

Firchau was moving the shark through the water to pass oxygen over its gills because the shark was slow coming out of sedation, officials added.

Aquarium officials say this is the most serious shark bite they've ever dealt with. There have been nips to workers, but nothing that's ever required stitches and a transport to the hospital.

Officials stress the public has no access to handle sharks. ... 4b46b.html

Posted: Thu May 24, 2007 7:51 pm
by sharkbait
Shark Bites Aquarium Handler

May 24, 2007 07:04 PM EDT

A blacktip reef shark took a bite out the Virginia Aquarium Curator of Fishes on Thursday, sending the woman to the hospital with a large chunk out her leg.

The 10-year-old, 120 pound shark, named Tidbit, was undergoing her annual physical and was not recovering well from sedation when the shark whipped around and bit Beth Firchau on her shin. She needed stitches and may need plastic surgery.

"She just didn't do well with the medication, just like sometimes people don't, and when he was waking up he just spasmed and freaked out," said Dr. Robert George, the Aquarium veterinarian. "Unfortunately, Beth was the first thing she ran into."

Tidbit had been lured from the large display tank where she has lived for 10 years and was being held in a smaller holding tank at the time of the incident. Firchau and George were standing in the tank holding on to Tidbit and trying to move oxygen over the gills of the shark to wake her up.

"At one point, the shark seemed to be rousing, so Beth let go and after the shark went a couple of feet, it turned around and grabbed her on her calf and it held on," said George.

"It grabbed her pretty good too and it didn't just bite and let go, like, say, a cat would bite you; it clamped on."

Eventually the shark released its grip, and Firchau was rushed to Sentara General Beach Hospital. Coworkers say she is resting comfortable and was in good spirits. She was even laughing with the emergency responders who initially picked her up.

"Beth was joking with the EMS people," said George. "I think the question was, 'Are the EMS guys handsome?'!"

Firchau is a 12-year veteran at the aquarium and supervises the shark physical team. The Aquarium has had sharks since 1996 with no serious injuries before.

As for Tidbit, recovery was still not going well. Hours after the incident, the aquarium was continuing to monitor the shark in the hospital tank. She was not swimming around like the team would have wanted following the physical and sedation.

The aquarium which is busy leading up to the Memorial Day weekend, remained open with most visitors completely unaware that the shark incident had even taken place. ... v=ZolHbyvj