Paddle boarder knocked off board, bitten by shark – 25 July 2017 – Ascension Island, Atlantic Ocean

Kawika Matsu, 37, from Hawaii, was paddle boarding about 90 metres from shore in English Bay on Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean when what he says was a 12-14 foot great white shark knocked him off his board and bit him several times. He suffered severe injuries to his right shoulder, torso and leg.

English Bay, Ascension Island
English Bay, Ascension Island

Bleeding profusely, he managed to get back on the board and wait to be rescued. The island rescue service brought him ashore and he was taken to the local hospital.

His mother was quoted as saying: “As he was trying to get back on the board, that’s when [the shark] came back and got him on the right buttocks and chomped a big portion off and again, a little bit of the thigh.”

He spent several days in the island hospital, before being flown to Florida, United States for further treatment.

His mother said members of the tiny island community donated blood to save Kawika, but, because of the its remote location, it took three days to fly him to a mainland hospital.

His older brother was quoted as saying: “My brother was a strong swimmer. We grew up in Hawaii and are watermen – second generation surfers and very comfortable in the water. He was well aware of the amount of sharks there.”

Daniel Schempp, commander of the US Air Force unit on Ascension was quoted as saying: “He sustained critical bite wounds to his torso and is lucky to be alive, only kept so by the heroics of the small US and UK medical teams on the island, and because of the donated blood supplies of volunteers.”

  • A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay his medical bills.

 

 

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INJURED – 6 June 2017 – Bantham, South Devon, England – surfer bitten – the first shark attack in UK waters

Rich Thomson is the first shark attack victim in the United Kingdom
Rich Thomson is the first shark attack victim in the United Kingdom

Rich Thompson, 30, suffered some minor lacerations to his thumb and hand when he punched a small shark that had latched onto his leg while he was surfing off the coast of Bantham in South Devon, England on 6 June 2017.

 

 

Although his injuries are minor the incident caused a lot of hype in the British media because it is believed to be the first shark attack in British waters.

Rich Thomson shows his bloody thumb that was bitten by a shark while he was surfing.
Rich Thomson shows his bloody thumb that was bitten by a shark while he was surfing.

Thomson said the shark was about 3 feet long. Shark experts said it was probably a smooth hound shark.

“I turned round and saw this little shark was on my thigh and wriggling its head side to side.

“I hit it on the head and it swam off. My hand was cut to pieces.”

He said he thought his thick winter wetsuit protected him from being injured more seriously when the shark bit on his leg.

“I went home and told my wife I was late because I had been bitten by a shark.

“She said ‘I’ve heard that one before’, but it was true.

“It won’t stop me going back in the water and it shouldn’t stop anyone, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I have never caught any fish while fishing but the biggest one I’ve ever caught attached itself to my leg.”

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INJURED – 2 June 2017 — Athol Island, Bahamas – snorkeler’s arm bitten off

Tiffany Johnson and her husband James following surgery after her forearm was severed in a shark attack.
Tiffany Johnson and her husband James following surgery after her forearm was severed in a shark attack.

Tiffany Johnson, 32, was snorkeling off Athol Island, Bahamas on 2 June 2017 when what is thought to be a tiger shark bit off her right arm below the elbow.

 

 

Her husband James had swum back to the boat 10 minutes earlier.

“I just stayed out for a little bit longer because there was a part of the reef I hadn’t seen yet,” she was quoted as saying.

“I was just floating there for the most part. I wasn’t moving my arms and legs very much, because I didn’t want to disturb the fish.

“I didn’t feel any pain. I just felt like I had run into something. I thought I had bumped into something.

“I causally looked to the right and I was face to face with a shark, and he had my arm in his mouth.

“He didn’t struggle at first. He was just kind of sitting there with my arm in his mouth, almost as if he was waiting for me to do something.  It was very strange.

“It registered what was going on, so I went to pull my arm back and that’s when the struggle began.

“We struggled for some time, it wasn’t very long, and then I was able to break free because he had taken my arm.”

She threw off her snorkeling gear and screamed for help. Her husband jumped in the water and swam to his wife and met her when she was about halfway back to the boat.

James said: “I looked over there and I just saw blood all over in the water, all around her. She’s saying, ‘help me, help me, Jesus,’ and she’s praying as she’s swimming back with one hand. Her other hand raised above the water. It was just unreal. My biggest concern was to get her back to the boat, hoping and just praying the shark wasn’t following us.”

Once on board the boat they wrapped her severed arm in a towel to stem the bleeding.

It wasn’t until they reached an ambulance that she felt pain. At that point, the pain was excruciating.

The crew rushed her to a local hospital in the Bahamas where doctors performed initial surgery to try to save as much of her arm as possible.

The couple were then flown to Charlotte, North Carolina, US, where Tiffany had further surgery at Carolinas Medical Center.

Watch video of Tiffany Johnson’s account of the attack.

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