An Oregon man is thankful to be alive Saturday, one day after a ten-foot tiger shark bit into his leg during a snorkeling trip off the coast of Hawaii.
ABC News reported that Tom Kennedy, 61, was snorkeling at about 9:35 a.m. Friday when he felt jaws sink into his left calf. Luckily, the shark decided to release Kennedy, who was able to reach his paddleboard before losing too much blood.
“I kept watching because I was concerned it would come back again,” he said. “It released me. So I started swimming as fast as I could. I would guess I was a still a hundred yards from my board … as I went further and started to bleed, I could see I was trailing blood, which was my next concern.”
Research has shown that sharks are able to smell one-part of blood for every million parts of water, according to HowStuffWorks.com, although those findings have been in dispute among the scientific community of late.
“Initially it didn’t hurt so much, it was just the fear of a second attack,” Kennedy said.
Luckily for him, another person on Kennedy’s snorkeling trip, a woman he identified as Holly, works as an emergency room nurse and was able to treat the wound while the boat rushed him to safety. Doctors said he was lucky the shark did not bite into any major arteries.
“People who were in a canoe were in the area, so they brought him in,” eyewitness Ryan Suda told Hawaii News Now. “They said he was stand-up paddle boarding like a lot of people do. They'll stand-up paddle board out to an area and go snorkeling. I do that myself.”
After Friday’s attack, the beach was closed for two miles in both directions. Kennedy said the odds of him being bitten by a shark were roughly equivalent to being struck by lightning, but he may have been more susceptible because he was in the shark’s environment.
Sharks often attack humans because, floating on the surface, they resemble seals or other large prey they hunt. Kennedy, on a snorkeling trip, was also likely near a reef or coral of some kind, where sharks are known to congregate.
This is the third attack in the region since October.