Heather West: TikToker recalls horror when her foot was ripped open by a shark in Florida

Heather West revealed in a series of social media videos that she was victimized by a lemon shark while she was in Florida in late January


                            Heather West: TikToker recalls horror when her foot was ripped open by a shark in Florida
Heather West explained how she was attacked by a shark in a series of videos (Instagram and Getty Images)
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A woman, who survived a horrifying shark attack, has shared her story on TikTok. Heather West revealed in a series of social media videos that she was victimized by a lemon shark while she was in Florida in late January. West, who goes by @wildwitchofthew3st on TikTok, is reportedly a “full-time vanlifer”.

According to West, at the time of the attack, she was at the Dry Tortugas National Park with a group of other travelers when they decided to go snorkeling. The group did not go far from the shore and were swimming in a single file, with West at one end. Suddenly, she felt a “bad vibe”. “I had this really bad vibe and something in me said, 'Get out'," she recalled.

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West said she wanted to get out of the water but felt like something was pulling her in by grabbing her foot. “We sat there for what seemed like a while. The shark wasn't moving, I wasn't moving. I thought, 'Well, this is getting a little awkward. How long are you going to hold my foot for?' And as soon as I thought that, he just rips me and rips me underneath the water. Whenever he started the yank ... I immediately was like, 'Oh s**t, this is a shark'," she said, before adding, “No that's mine, you can't have it.”

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When the predator plucked her foot for the second time, West began screaming and hurling abuses at the animal. She also started hitting the shark before it left her. She was then brought back to safety. West said she instantly checked her foot after being back at the shore and yelled, “I won” again and again. She was then shifted to Key West for medical treatment. 

Her TikTok videos have been viewed millions of times with a user asking West, “Do you plan on continuing to swim and adventure in the water? i know id literally never step foot in it again thats sooo scary!” She replied, “Absolutely!! I’ll have different ground rules to feel comfortable but I’m definitely getting back in!!”

West’s story came out as a swimmer was killed by a 4.5-meter shark in Sydney on Wednesday, February 16. The victim has been identified as Simon Nellist, a British expat, who was soon to get married to his girlfriend in Sydney. The 35-year-old was also a lover of the ocean and a diving instructor.

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One of Nellist’s friends Della Ross said, “Everything that is connected to Simon is connected to the ocean. The news hit us like a truck because he was one of the people who make this earth lighter. He loved the water, he loved diving.” Reportedly, the swimmer was practicing for a swim event when the monster fatally attacked him. After his death, the event, the Malabar Magic Ocean Swim, was canceled as event director Robert Lloyd said, “The organizing committee extends our thoughts and prayers to the family of the swimmer who was so tragically taken yesterday. Out of respect for the swimmer and his family, and following wide consultation with Randwick Council and experienced, senior Surf Life Saving personnel, we believe that canceling the 2022 swim is appropriate.”

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