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A Shark Survivor Punched A Shark In The Gills And Lived To Tell The Tale

Aug 30, 2018 08:35 PM EDT
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A 61-year-old man who was attacked and bitten by a shark survived the ordeal by punching the formidable predator on the gills.

The shark is one of the most fearsome creatures at sea, but neurologist William Lytton from Scarsdale, New York, fought back admirably when he came face to face with one.

The Shark Attack

According to The Independent, Lytton was swimming in Cape Pod in waters just 8 to 10 feet deep when he felt an intense pain in his leg. It was a shark chomping on his leg.

The 61-year-old acted quickly, smacking the creature in the gills with his left hand. As soon as the shark released his limb, Lytton swam to shore where he was able to get help.

The New York resident says that his action of punching the shark must have come from documentaries that reveal that the animal's most vulnerable body part are the gills.

"I initially was terrified, but, really, there was no time to think," Lytton recounts. "It doesn't feel like I did anything heroic. A lot of this was luck."

The Aftermath

Upon getting to shore, Lytton was assisted by his family, friends, and other beachgoers, including a handful of medical professionals. As he was carried to the parking lot, he began to lose consciousness. Lytton recalls the excruciating pain and the helicopter arriving but says he remembers nothing from the next two days.

He was reportedly airlifted to the Tufts Medical Center in Boston, where he was in a two-day coma. While the shark encounter left him injured, no critical nerves, veins, and bones were hit with major damage.

Six surgeries and almost 12 pints of blood later, Lytton is on his way to recovery. It's going to be a challenging road, though, with at least one more surgery to go and weeks of rehabilitation.

For now, Lytton is focused on getting better, and he has no plans of swimming in Cape Cod any time soon.

"It's kind of terrifying thinking about it," he admits. "I know it's not the best thing to say, but I didn't like sharks before, and like them even less now."

Sharks In Cape Cod

Experts are still trying to figure out what type of shark was involved in the attack. The last shark attack in Massachusetts was in 2012, while the last fatal encounter was in 1936.

Greg Skomal, a shark expert from the state's Division of Marine Fisheries, tells Yahoo News that the culprit was likely a great white shark since it's the most common type of shark in the area where the incident occurred.

Yahoo News reports that shark sightings have seen a number of Cape Cod beaches close down. One video even showed a shark just a few feet from the shore.

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