A chilling video of Louisiana teen Cameron Robbins jumping overboard a party boat in the Bahamas and then swimming away from a life-saver as a blurry image of a white creature in the water moving toward him sparked speculation that the teen might have been killed by a shark moments after he took the dare.
Several online users have claimed that the white shadowy image is that of a shark that likely attacked and killed Robbins. However, according to the New York Post, longtime scuba and marine search and rescue experts told the outlet how there could be other possible outcomes that need to be considered and why they think the 18-year-old's body is yet to be recovered.
What Could Have Happened
The coast guard from nearby Nassau and Robbins' family called off the search after no sign of Robbins was found after two days. The high school athlete Robbins has been missing for two weeks, leaving his devastated family in the dark.
"He was lost at sea after being reported missing off the coast of Athol Island in the Bahamas on the evening of May 24," a recent obituary of Robbins read.
"Though he left this world far too soon, he lived a life full of good friends and family He was funny and kind-hearted, but also intense and driven."
There is almost no chance of his survival but as it is being speculated, Robbins could have died in other possible ways also. So, despite jumping into shark-infested waters, he may not have really been killed by a shark.
He had jumped from the pirate ship-style Blackbeard's Revenge moments earlier. In a chilling video that has gone viral on social media, Robbins is seen swimming away from a rescue buoy while onlookers shout for him to grab it.
The shadow of a mysterious being can be seen in the water, only a few feet away from where he swam.
Internet users speculated that the thing pulled him underwater because it was a shark. But most experts disagree with the assertion.
"We've consulted with oceanography and fisheries experts," Brian Trascher, vice president and spokesperson for the United Cajun Navy, a non-profit that has worked with the Robbins family, told the New York Post.
"They don't believe ... that he came in contact with any time of shark or predatory marine life.
"And until we get better video or something more conclusive, that's going to be our position."
May Not Be Shark
Butch Hendrick has spent decades familiarizing with the Caribbean waters, notably those off the Bahamas. He is the president and creator of the public safety dive training firm Lifeguard Systems.
"I don't hear about a lot of shark attacks in the Bahamas," he told the outlet on Friday.
He pointed out that food served on boats like the one Robbins and his classmates had been on is frequently tossed or spilled into the sea, attracting sharks and other marine animals.
Sharks and other marine animals 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 created rescue techniques in 15 nations, told the outlet.
However, the behavior of the object in the water 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, adding that there was no 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."
Moreover, he said that it is also uncommon for a shark to actually finish eating a human it has attacked.
"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 the Athol Island, "they can take a very large chunk," Hendricks said.
"But the concept that they came back and ate more is slim."
Did Robbins Drown?
Longtime diver Cristina Zenato, a shark and ocean activist based in the Bahamas, told The Post that she was not at all involved in the case, but she had a theory as to why Robbins might have drowned after suffering hypothermia.
"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 said via 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."
Like Zenato, Hendricks questioned if Robbins had any alcohol in his system at the time and remarked that this could have contributed to the events.
Hendricks also questioned whether Robbins could have lost consciousness after jumping from the boat, despite the fact that his rescue and recovery training business is one of the oldest in the country.
"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."
Hendricks said that Robbins's potential head injury during his jump as well as the current at the time would have likely played a part.
"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."
The possibilities that Robbins could have swum to safety on land were described by him as "not impossible, but reasonably slim."
The US Coast Guard and Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) searched the seas for Robbins for two days before giving up in accordance with protocol when there is no indication of the person who is missing at sea.
Hendricks, who is experienced in search and rescue techniques, told the outlet that authorities are likely to have searched the water's surface for any floating evidence.
Unless Robbins sustained any injuries while submerged, it is unlikely that his body sank once he jumped from the boat; instead, his remains would have floated.
The teen's parents, William and Shari Robbins, both 54, have received hundreds of calls since their son jumped off a pirate-themed booze cruise ship in the Bahamas on a dare on May 24.
They have since returned to their home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and broke their last weekend. "We are just mourning our son right now," Shari Robbins told The Post.
"We appreciate you calling. Maybe we will be able to talk more later."
"We appreciate everyone's support," William added.
The family has also issued an obituary for Robbins. "Cameron Crossley Robbins was a beloved grandson, son, brother and friend. He was lost at sea after being reported missing off the coast of Athol Island in the Bahamas on the evening of May 24," the obituary stated.