Tourist bitten by shark in Gran Canaria

'Today I had a face-to-face meeting with a shark'

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The Independent Online

A woman has been bitten by a shark while swimming off the coast of Gran Canaria.

Cristina Ojeda-Thies tweeted a photograph of the shark's tooth-marks on her arm after she was bitten on Arinaga Beach in Aguimes, on Friday.

She wrote: "Today I had a face-to-face meeting with a shark. Things tha thappen when you swim in the Canary Islands in December."

Gran Canaria authorities are keen to stress it was a "one-off", over fears the bite could harm tourism to the island.

Ms Ojeda-Thies told a local newspaper: "I noticed something pulling at my left arm but I didn’t pay any attention because it felt like a dog biting you when it’s playing.

"I returned to the shoreline swimming crawl and I felt another pull again, more intense this time.

"Half a second later I felt something grabbing hold of me, I turned round and I saw it pulling at me. It was a fish. I hit it with my right hand and I saw the shark’s fins as it swam off.

"Everything happened very quickly, in seconds. Although it wasn’t a painful attack, I didn’t realise how serious it was till I got out of the water.

"As I turned round I saw it was a big greyish-brown fish and when I hit it I noticed it had hard, rough skin.

She added: "There are times when I’ve fallen off my bike or I’ve burnt myself cooking and it’s hurt me more."

Fernando Frias, President of the Canary Islands Shark Alliance told the Daily Mail: "I doubt something like this will happen again in the next 50 years so people shouldn't be afraid."