Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Snippy shark sinks evangelist's State Fair stunt

TAMPA — It was supposed to be the next backdrop for his YouTube salvation message.

Picture this: evangelist Bill Keller, a bible and a tank filled with sharks. For five minutes he would preach to them.

The title of the video: 'Swimming with the Sharks."

But about 30 minutes before Keller was set to dive into the shark exhibit Friday at the Florida State Fair, organizers nixed it.

Apparently, the sharks were a little snappy.

Specifically, the 300-pound, 7-foot nurse shark was irritated and aggressive, fair spokesman Paul Wilson said.

The shark had been swimming with strangers for several days and had had enough, said the shark handler.

"He said 'The shark is agitated. No one's getting in the tank right now,' " Wilson said.

The exhibit debuted this year at the fair, and several local media personalities have interviewed the shark handler — and then jumped into the tank to record television shots.

To protect them, the handler held a makeshift gate made of PVC pipes between them and the sharks, Wilson said.

Friday morning, it was WTVT-TV Fox 13 meteorologist Dave Osterberg's turn. While he was in the water, the nurse shark poked at the pipe and tried to slide through its partitions.

Osterberg, who had been in the tank for about 15 minutes, promptly got out.

Keller, dressed nattily in a cream-and-black pinstriped suit, was unfazed. He still wanted a shot.

The controversial preacher admitted to being just a little bit afraid of the sharks. But mostly, he said he was excited.

"It was a little something different," he said. "I don't mind living on the edge."

Snippy shark sinks evangelist's State Fair stunt 02/13/09 [Last modified: Friday, February 13, 2009 11:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  2. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  3. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  4. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  5. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]