A bull shark off the distance from a spearfisherman. ALEX RICKERT/Keys Weekly

A young man spearfishing off the shores of Islamorada was reportedly bitten in the foot and ankle by a shark on May 5, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

According to a report by the sheriff’s office, the man was spearfishing near Davis Reef off Islamorada, roughly 4 nautical miles southeast of Plantation Key, when he was bitten around 11:30 a.m. 

The 22-year-old man, identified in a Miami Herald report as Ethan Wilder, was transported via Trauma Star to Jackson South Medical Center for treatment. He’s been released from the hospital. Wilder told the Keys Weekly he’s doing good. He said he saw the shark for roughly a second, which was enough for him to see its head.

“When I turned around and it had that oval bull shark head, so I’m like 98% sure it was a bull shark,” he told the Keys Weekly. 

U.S. Coast Guard members responded to the incident on the water, transporting him ashore to the Coast Guard’s Islamorada station. From there, he was transported by Islamorada Fire Rescue ambulance to Founders Park where he was airlifted. 

Jim McCarthy is one of the many Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 4-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, hockey, mixed martial arts and golf. He also enjoys time with family and his new baby boy, Lucas, who arrived Oct. 4, 2022.