Group of Springfield University students swim 4 miles to shore to escape shark after their boat capsizes

On Thursday, a Springfield University student, Christy Wapniarski, is said to be dead after her and three other students were left stranded 4-miles off the coast of Daytona Beach, Florida, after their sailboat sprang a leak and capsized.

The boat was said to have capsized at around 5 p.m., leaving the four students hanging on to the sailboats pontoons through the night.

At dawn, the group decided to swim for Ormond Beach when Randy Cohen, sophomore, heard Wapniarski cry for help, saying that a shark had attacked her. He called to Tammy Ennis, who promptly told him not to go back.

“Randy, don’t go back there,” Ennis said. “you’ll get eaten too.”

Cohen said he saw no signs of a shark when he swam back, but by the time he got there, Wapniarski was unconscious. He proceeded to put his arms around her and began to swim for shore.

Daniel Perrin, 20, swam to the aid of Cohen and checked Wapniarski’s pulse, proclaiming her dead. Cohen says he swam with Wapniarski for another 15–20 minutes before he finally let her go.

It took the remaining three students more than 6 hours to reach shore.

Cohen was said to have been stung by over a dozen of excruciatingly painful jellyfish. He is currently being treated in Halifax Hospital, Daytona Beach, Florida.

The other students were examined by hospital staff and released.

Journalism LU ‘21