Mitch Milan, 54, was surfing at Davidson’s surf spot, near Kekaha on Kauai island, Hawaii, in the evening of 9 October 2017 when he was bitten on his left hand by a shark. He suffered serious lacerations which required 50 stitches.
“I was outside of the waves, just waiting for a set wave to come in, and all of a sudden, my worst nightmare. Any surfer’s worst nightmare,” he’s quoted as saying by Hawaii News Now.
“I don’t know how I got my hand out of its mouth but all of a sudden, I’m on my back and then the thing kind of swings around and it’s looking at me, and I’m just going, ‘Please God, let me live.
“I’m backpedalling and trying to get my board back from him because he had it in his mouth. It’s like, ‘What do you do?’ ” he said.
The shark – thought to be 10-foot Tiger shark – bit his hand and took a chunk out of his board.
The attack occurred at 6.30pm, at dusk, a time notorious for shark activity when they are thought to come inshore to feed.
Milan was surfing with Gary Watkins, who paddled over to try to help. But when Watkins arrived, Milan pulled his board away from the shark, by its leash, and caught a wave to shore.
Watkins said he saw the shark next to him while he waited 30 seconds for another wave. “Then a wave came to me and I just bombed out of there,” he said. “It was done.”
Milan said that despite excessive bleeding in the moments after the attack, he made it to shore purely on adrenaline, and sought help at a local hospital.
“I consider myself very, very blessed to be alive,” he said. “That’s the one thing, when you’re looking at this creature that wants to eat you.”
A French surfer was bitten by a shark at the same spot on 14 April 2017.