Search-and-rescue pros have spoken on Cameron Robbins vanishing after diving into the sea and gave their expert opinions on what likely happened after Robbins vanished after diving into the sea and the details via the New York Post;
Grainy cellphone footage shows recent Louisiana high school graduate Cameron Robbins swimming in Bahamian waters at night, but as the camera pans left for a second, he disappears — never to be seen again.
Some claim the video appears to show a shark closing in on the 18-year-old, but longtime scuba and marine search-and-rescue experts explain to The Post how several other outcomes need to be considered and explain why they think his body has yet to be recovered two weeks later.
Efforts by the coast guard from nearby Nassau and Robbins’ family were called off after two days when no trace of the teenager was found.
Was it a shark attack?
Robbins graduated from the University Lab School in Baton Rouge three days before he vanished in the “shark-infested” waters off Athol Island.
He had leaped from Blackbeard’s Revenge, a pirate ship-style vessel, just moments earlier.
The haunting video footage shows Robbins swimming away from a rescue buoy as onlookers shout for him to grab the device.
A mysterious shadow can be seen in the water just feet from where he swam.
Internet viewers speculated the object was a shark that pulled him under.
But experts largely reject the idea.
“We’ve consulted with oceanography and fisheries experts,” said Brian Trascher, vice president and spokesperson for the United Cajun Navy, a nonprofit that has worked with the Robbins family. “They don’t believe … that he came in contact with any type of shark or predatory marine life.
“And until we get better video or something more conclusive, that’s going to be our position.”
Marine creatures, such as sharks, are “smart enough to realize that’s a boat that comes out all the time and it’s going to have food coming off,” Hendricks, who has developed rescue methods in 15 countries, told The Post.
But the behavior of the object seen in the water with Robbins was not indicative of a shark.
“The tendency is not that [the shark] came in, took him, and took him to the depth,” Hendricks went on.
He noted the lack of any sign of blood in the water.
“They would hit him, that could be enough to totally incapacitate [him]. That could be enough to cause him to drown right there.”
Further, it’s unusual for a shark to actually finish eating a human it attacked, he noted.
“The tendency more often is to take a bite, shake and decide this isn’t what they wanted,” he said.
As for tiger sharks, which are known to swim in the waters off Athol Island, “they can take a very large chunk,” Hendricks said.
“But the concept that they came back and ate more is slim.”
What did happen to Cameron Robbins?
Cristina Zenato, a longtime diver and Bahamas-based shark and ocean conservationist, told The Post she was not involved in the case at all, but suspected Robbins could have suffered hypothermia, then drowned.
“From what I saw, Cameron was wearing just shorts, and might have had a certain level of alcohol in his blood, which causes vasodilation,” she wrote in an email. “Chances are he didn’t survive hypothermia which contrary to popular belief can happen in matter of an hour or so, even in Caribbean waters.”
Hendricks, much like Zenato, questioned how much alcohol, if any, was in Robbins’ system at the time, and noted that could have contributed to the situation.
But Hendricks, whose rescue and recovery training company is one of the oldest in the nation, also wondered whether Robbins could have lost his breath after jumping from the boat.
“When he hits the water, does it simply knock the wind out of him and he can’t catch his breath?” he said.
“Knocking the wind out of himself when he hits the water is a very high possibility — now he’s struggling and he could sink.”
The current at the time would have likely also played a role, Hendricks said, as well as the possibility that Robbins could have hit his head during his descent.
“So, we don’t see the thrashing, we don’t see [blood]. A better chance that he just, he hits his head on the side of the boat or he gets the wind knocked out of him when he hits the water, he can’t catch his breath and then, in 60 seconds he’s leaving the surface.”
He called the chances that Robbins could have swum to safety on shore “not impossible, but reasonably slim.”
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