A college student was spearfishing off the coast near Santa Barbara, California, when he felt a violent tug on his fin. At first he thought it was his friends, but he quickly realized a great white shark was attacking him.
Tyler McQuillen, 22, told Inside Edition he “thought I was going to die.”
McQuillen was swimming 100 yards offshore in just 10 feet of water at Refugio State Beach when the incident occurred September 1, according to the Santa Barbara News-Press.
A GoPro camera was attached to his speargun and captured the entire incident.
“When I was hit in the back, I thought it was my friends playing a joke on me,” McQuillen wrote in a description of the video, according to Jamie Hugg. “I lost grip of my speargun, which I quickly retrieved and then it hit me. A HUGE great white, which was at least 12-feet long, attacked me from the left side.
“It quickly circled around me and I used my speargun to keep it away.”
McQuillen saw blood in the water. He wasn’t sure where it came from but wasn’t going to stick around to find out. He swam back to shore as fast as he could and alerted others of the danger. He was unaware he had been bitten until he reached shore.
The great white shark bit him in the toes, breaking two of them and ripping the fin off his right foot. At least McQuillen managed to give the shark “a nice little jab” in return. The tip of the spear showed some of the shark’s blood on it.
Inside Edition reported that McQuillen would be on crutches for a month, but he plans on going back into the water, even though he knows he dodged a bullet.
“Extremely lucky to get out of this one alive,” McQuillen wrote.
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