Mitch Milan of Kauai is very, very grateful.
The Hawaiian was surfing on the evening of October 9th with his friend Gary Watkins at Davidson’s Beach when a 10-foot tiger shark bit him on his left hand.
Milan called the incident “any surfer’s worst nightmare”. He recalled freeing his hand somehow from the shark’s grip and finding himself on his back, praying to live as he saw the shark swing around and look at him.
From about 40 feet away, Watkins heard Milan’s scream and saw his friend’s board in the shark’s mouth. He paddled over and saw the shark release the board just as he reached Milan. A wave took Milan away, and after watching the shark circle him several times, Watkins followed on another wave.
Upon reaching the shore, Milan was taken to emergency, where he received 49 stitches to his hand. The damage to his shortboard showed how much worse things could have been, as the board sustained a curved bite 14 and 1/2 inches wide and five and 1/2 inches deep.
A French surfer attacked just months prior at the exact same location was not as lucky, and had to have his right leg partially amputated.
Milan considers himself extremely blessed to be alive and not more seriously injured in the attack. As it is, he’ll need recovery time, but the shark’s bite missed any major veins or tendons.
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