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Florida Diver Recovers from Shark Bite After Kiss Goes Wrong; Lip 'Put Through a Meat Grinder'

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MIAMI, Florida -- A South Florida diver, who enjoys swimming with sharks, ends up hospitalized after he decided to kiss one and the shark kissed back.

It was a decision that left the amorous diver with a severely damaged lip that required extensive reconstruction surgery.

Dr. Sean Kenniff spoke to diver Dave Marcel about a month after the underwater encounter in the waters off Key Largo.

"You kind of pick them up, rub their belly, scratch them, hug them,” Marcel said, “You might as well give them a smooch while you're out there."

He's done it hundreds of times before, but this time the love bug bit back sinking five hundred razor sharp teeth into his lips.

Then in a pool of blood, with his lip hanging like a worm, the snappers came in for a few bites too.

Miami cosmetic surgeon Dr. Mike Kelly has seen almost everything, but even he's never seen this.

"Dave's lip looked like it had been put through a meat grinder or a garbage disposal. I mean it was a hundred little pieces," Dr. Kelly said.

It was supposed to be just a little kiss. When it comes to shark bites most people think of a Great White or a Tiger Shark. But believe it or not, bites from nurse sharks are not uncommon. Although they have a reputation for being docile animals, it's important to remember they are also wild animals.

Dr. Kelly says repairing Dave's face was particularly puzzling.

"Basically it was a matter of completing the jigsaw puzzle and putting the pieces back together again," he said.

And in this school of fish, Dave has learned his lesson the hard way.

"Don't kiss a nurse shark while it's upside down," Dave said.

Better still, don't kiss them at all.

It is not common for nurse sharks to spontaneously attack humans, but they can attack when provoked.

Dave's kiss must have been quite a provocation.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

11 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Wow! how did he manage to breathe from his regulator with a shredded lip?
   comment# 1   - Richard T. Coen · Santa Cruz, CA USA · Oct 13, 2006 @ 1:18pm

Play around with wild animals long enough and one is going to get you. He asked for a kiss with a shark... he got it alright. I sure don't feel sympathy for him. Very bad judgement on his part. Shark diving has the potential for disaster.
   comment# 2   - Brian M · Hudson, Fl · Oct 17, 2006 @ 6:25am

i sometimes hug nurse sharks, even kiss them (on their heads, not mouths!!!). wanna see a picture? it's in my website under the heading "karin" (my wife): Don't imitate unless you know how to handle gentle nurses!!
   comment# 3   - Wolfgang Leander · Bolivia · Oct 22, 2006 @ 12:24am

What the heck did the less than intelligent person expect? People are just dumb!
   comment# 4   - David · Poulsbo, Wa. USA · Nov 3, 2006 @ 6:17pm

Well the plastic suregeon sure knows his job.
   comment# 5   - Sandeep · Mumbai , india · Nov 15, 2006 @ 10:59am

Good thing he he didn't try to shake hands with a stonefish!
   comment# 6   - Laura · Columbus Ohio · Apr 9, 2007 @ 9:27am

At least he could kiss and tell (later on)!
   comment# 7   - E.M.McHenry · Milton,Fl. (USA) · May 7, 2007 @ 10:11am

Hey Dave ! Your an absolute less than intelligent person. I'm saddened that a normally docile nurse shark didn't dine on your jelatinous brain. Stop molesting the sharks ! It's not funny, cute or entertaining you freak. Your in a position to educate the public not make an rear orifice of yourself. Quit now before you end up like Steve Irwin. Respect wildlife !
   comment# 8   - R. White · Tampa, Florida · Jul 1, 2008 @ 9:42pm

Did people learn NOTHING from Timothy "Bear Food" Treadwell? Gods...
   comment# 9   - David O · Seattle, USA · Apr 12, 2009 @ 7:25pm

that is sooooooooooo cool how did he breath underwater when that happened
   comment# 10   - grace · mexico · Dec 4, 2011 @ 5:25pm

Video of it happening!
   comment# 11   - Shaun Caley · Dorset, England · Jun 28, 2012 @ 4:39am
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