Sometimes a story comes along that’s so bizarre there’s no good way to ease into it. So here goes: A man stripped naked, jumped a security barrier, and swam with dozens of tropical fish in a 2.9 million liter shark tank during a jazz night hosted by a Toronto aquarium last week.
Toronto police first got the call about an “indecent exposure incident” at just after 10.30pm on Friday, October 12. The man, who has since been identified as David Weaver of Nelson, BC, had hopped, buck naked, into the Dangerous Lagoon, the largest exhibit at Toronto’s Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, joining the local population of green sea turtles, green moray eels, and 17 sand tiger sharks in the tank.
“We’ve never had an incident like this before,” aquarium general manager Peter Doyle told The Globe and Mail. “I’ve never seen this in my 25 years working in aquariums.”
Videos from other visitors to the aquarium show Weaver enjoying a lazy backstroke, before appearing to get out at the request of security officers – only to dive back in as onlookers cheer.
“The guy seemed totally relaxed and there were sharks, like, everywhere,” visitor Erinn Acland told CBC Toronto. “He appeared to be totally nude and, like, laughing.”
“I don’t know what would possess someone to do that. It’s totally insane to me,” she continued. “I was scared I was going to witness the death of this guy.”
By the time the police arrived, the incident was over, as Weaver had got out of the tank and left the aquarium.
“We arrived on scene within seven minutes and he was already gone,” Toronto police spokesperson Katrina Arrogante told The Globe and Mail. And in a strange twist, it appears Weaver is also wanted by police for a violent assault at a medieval-themed restaurant earlier the same night.
Although neither Weaver nor the animals were harmed in the stunt, the aquarium has released a statement saying they are “willing to press all appropriate charges”.
“[This was] very dangerous for both the individual as well as our animals,” aquarium general manager Peter Doyle told CBC Toronto.
“An animal’s health and welfare is paramount to what we do so… we plan to press charges to the full extent of the law.”
The story comes only months after a group of fish-nappers stole a shark from a Texas aquarium by trying to disguise it as a baby – proving once again that a lot of peculiar activities go down at marine life centers.