Shark Attack Survivor: Kent Bonde, 53, Miami, Florida
A bull shark attacked Kent Bonde in 2001 as he spearfished in a remote area off Grand Bahama Island, tearing away most of his left calf muscle. Bonde began the 100-yard swim back to the boat where his wife, Debbie, waited. Sensing that her husband was in trouble as he struggled to close the distance, she swam out to help him return to the boat. With the aid of a friend, they returned to shore and rushed 35 miles to the nearest hospital. Bonde was airlifted to Miami's Ryder Trauma Center where he underwent extensive skin graft surgery followed by months of rehabilitation.
Bonde has fully recovered. And despite the ordeal, the couple use the experience to dispel myths and promote an understanding of sharks through dive instruction, speeches at school and community events, and media appearances. Bonde, an asset manager for the city of Miami Beach, continues to spend significant time under water, where he films, photographs, and interacts with predators. He is a master dive instructor, logging more than 3,000 dives around the world. He also captains a dive boat in Miami, which is owned and operated by his friend and fellow shark attack survivor, Mike Beach. Together, they work with the Pew Environment Group to conserve sharks.