Shark attack victim only realised hed lost a leg when he saw it floating away

A surfer has remembered the details of a horrific shark attack, which left him spraying blood from the limb where his leg used to be.

Mike Coots was just 18 when he was brutally attacked by a tiger shark while out surfing with friends in Hawaii.

It left him paralysed for life but, incredibly, Mike refused to give up his passion and returned to the water just weeks later.

He spoke about the terrifying encounter in 1997 on the Shark Stories podcast, saying: “I knew I was getting attacked because it was very visual. I could see everything happening.

“It was when I started paddling for that wave and I remember my fingertips brushing the surface of the water and as soon as that happened, a large tiger shark came up from underneath, grabbed onto my leg, and started rag dolling me back and forth.

“And I just felt this immense pressure. Zero pain – it’s crazy, like no pain whatsoever. It felt like maybe 20 Hawaiian guys were all sitting on my leg at once."

The surfer explained that he was forced to fight the shark off in order to escape its powerful hold on his lower body.

“As soon as it stopped, its jaws started articulating again and it tried to get a better grip of my legs," he continued. "I punched it a couple of times with my left hand right on the nose, and it let go and it sank right back beneath the waterline."

As he struggled to get back on his board, Mike remembered seeing his friend next to him, “completely white” and with his eyes “popping out of his head”, before quickly turning and paddling back to shore.

He claimed he only realised he had lost his leg when he looked back and saw it drifting away.

“I remember looking at my index finger, and it was split open like a potato, there was blood everywhere, I could see my bone through my finger", he recalled.

“I guess I had subconsciously dipped my hand into its mouth to get my legs out, and that obviously didn’t work.

“I felt this weird spasm in my limb, and I thought it was the shark coming to finish me off, but I looked over my shoulder and it wasn’t that, it was my leg severed off completely.

Remembering what he had seen in further detail, Mike said: “I remember that very visually, these huge squirts of blood… it was like out of Hollywood, my guess is 10 foot squirts”

Eventually, Mike made it to the beach where his friends rushed to his aid, before being fitted with a prosthetic leg and spending a month in hospital.

Despite the traumatic incident, the Hawaiian now regularly photographs sharks, and is a staunch conservationist of the species.

Explaining why his love for sharks wasn’t hindered by the incident, he claimed: “They’re one of the last wild, crazy beautiful things left on Earth,

“Without them, our oceans wouldn’t be oceans.”

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