Shark Prank

Shark Prank

Thousands of sharks are caught annually by fishing enthusiasts as well as by those who hunt sharks for a livelihood. Surprisingly, only a few dozen serious injuries have been reported in the last 25 years. The following mishap could have had an even more disastrous outcome than it did—no fault of the shark!

During July 1970 a sport fisherman off the Virginia coast, already disgruntled with the day's catch, hooked a small five—pound sand tiger (a shark) and dragged it aboard. This was quite a letdown for a man who had visions of bringing in a great white. Less than thrilled with his catch, he stuffed into the shark's mouth a small bomb of the type used to train soldiers, set the timer, and tossed the shark overboard. (Just how he happened to be carrying such a bomb seems irrelevant; no one bothered to ask.) The fisherman and his fellow sailors considered this the joke of the day, and all rushed to the railing to see the little shark blown to pieces.

As with many practical jokes, this one backfired. Instead of swimming away, the little shark doubled back and, with flawless timing, blew up squarely underneath the boat. The explosion blew a large hole in the bottom planks, and the boat promptly sank. The disgruntled owner, who faced a $5,000 salvage and repair bill, sued the fisherman for a considerable sum and was awarded the entire amount.

The story does end here. The bomber fisherman retired permanently from shark fishing.

From the book: 
Petrified Lightning