Shark Attack Victim Describes Survival Fight.
March 29, 2002 11:10 PM   Subscribe

Shark Attack Victim Describes Survival Fight. The attack happened at Brennecke Beach in Hawii. There are presently around 70-80 Shark attacks each year. Over time there have been some notable survivers: Rodney Fox - who was almost bitten in half by a Great White, then went on to advise on the making of Jaws, and some Alabama guys who escaped after one of them hit the shark in the nose - to name a couple. However, there can't be many who have match this Hawaiin guys efforts. His fight technique was simply outstanding.
posted by RobertLoch (14 comments total)
Wow, local news on metafilter! Even though Aki had only his foot bit off, doctors have had to amputate above the knee in order to properly fit a prosthetic. He had an amazing presence of mind to fight off the shark.

It is nice to see the authorities have the right attitude:
"Whenever people get bitten by a shark, it's a very unfortunate situation and it reminds us that sharks are out there," Honebrink said, "and that is their environment. We don't like to think of it that way, but when you go out into the ocean, it really is a wilderness experience. There are things out there that can hurt you and sharks are one of them."

While I lived in Australia, after every shark attack the local government would hunt down the guilty shark and kill it. The idea seemed to be that killer sharks were just bad apples which needed to be culled. IMHO occasionally chomping on people is what sharks do, and killing one shark is not going to make a bit of difference.

Shark attacks are rare enough that they should be left alone and respected. There is quite a bit of local respect for sharks here, as they play an important part of hawaiian mythology.
posted by phatboy at 11:39 PM on March 29, 2002

Here's the verbarium discussion had in the ocean on a surf board illustrating the exact reason why I don't surf :

Me : Holy shit! Was that a shark? That was huge!
Dumb ass stoner pal: Don't sweat it, man. No big deal.
Me: What are you, stoned?

Six months latter, in the exact same spot.
posted by dong_resin at 12:58 AM on March 30, 2002

back when my husband and I were on our honeymoon in 1983, we went on a helicopter ride over Panama City Beach....this was the height of tourist season and the beaches were packed. From our vantage point up above, we could see the dozen or so sharks about 100 yards offshore from all the swimmers(husband says it was 35 sharks- I didn't count them.)

Needless to say I didn't go swimming.
posted by bunnyfire at 5:02 AM on March 30, 2002

congratulations for aki, he was very lucky, he just saved his lifeā€¦ the technique is not so impressive. always when a fight, you have to attack your opponent's eyes or nose; it always work!
posted by trismegisto at 5:48 AM on March 30, 2002

When I first went surfing, I remember seeing these fins coming straight at me - lots of them! Turns out they were of course dolphins. I still have a pang of fear whenever I see them in the distance, I think because they remind me of all the huge scary things swimming underneath me.
posted by vacapinta at 7:21 AM on March 30, 2002

Whatever happened to young Jesse Arbogast? I haven't heard any updates and was curious.
posted by Fofer at 7:35 AM on March 30, 2002

Chances are if you see dolphins you will -not- see sharks... Dolphins regularly beat off the dumber sharks up by ramming them in the nose.
posted by SpecialK at 7:37 AM on March 30, 2002

Fofer, Popular Mechanics wrote up the reattachment surgery in November, and Pensacola News profiled him in January {summary: from the brain injury due to blood loss, he's still unable to speak, but interacts with family; mainly fed through a tube}. By the way, before anybody brings up the story about his uncle feeding chum at the shoreline, it's an urban legend, despite widespread circulation among rescue professionals.
posted by dhartung at 9:42 AM on March 30, 2002

Seventy-odd shark attacks a year notwithstanding, it's still safer to swim in the ocean than to drive on the freeway.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:58 AM on March 30, 2002

Wow, poor kid. I'm amazed at his spirt of resiliance great is that! I wish him the best of luck as he goes through physical therapy and hope he can take up his other activities soon.
posted by dejah420 at 2:38 PM on March 30, 2002

Here's some moreinfo on the kid and the location...I used to live in Pensacola- and I used to swim in that water.
To the best of my recollection he wasn't swimming at a very populated part of the beach. Fort Pickens and the surrounding area is parkland (or was when I lived there) and not packed like Panama City Beach or other areas...Pensacola Beach is right down the road from where he was and it would have had a lot more people.

My advice to anyone who simply must swim in the ocean is this. Go where everybody else goes. At the very least you lessen your odds...

And for pity's sake stay out of the water at dawn and dusk. They really do come closer to shore to feed then.

Oh, and a plug for Sacred Heart Hospital...I had two of my kids there. That place rocks. Good hospital. They have three or four hospitals there, and at least when I lived there, it was The Place To Go.
posted by bunnyfire at 4:11 PM on March 30, 2002

Can I be the one person here who actually felt sorry for the shark, who got its eye poked out? I mean, it's only following its natural imperatives, swim, eat, etc. Yes, I feel badly for the boy who lost his foot; but the shark was just doing what sharks do.
posted by jokeefe at 7:16 PM on March 30, 2002

I miss Hawaii...especially scuba diving in Maui...there was a shark when I went snorkling off Molokini, but I didn't see it, I was told about it. I wanted to see him.
posted by adampsyche at 7:25 PM on March 30, 2002

Yeah, and Aki was doing what prey always does when it can - fight back.

Too bad for the shark, but in the wilderness there's only one law: kill or be killed. Sure it's unfair when guys with boats and guns go after a shark, but the shark took on Aki man vs. beast: it had to be prepared to accept the consequences, instinct or no instinct.

I doubt this one was the first shark to ever be wounded by a counterattack. Does the fact that it was a homosapien (as opposed to another sea creature) which wounded the shark make a difference? I don't think so. Nature is harsh.
posted by junkbox at 7:26 PM on March 30, 2002

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