A veteran surfer’s right foot was bitten off in a rare shark mauling in Hawaii.
Mike Morita, 58, was enjoying a 7am surf session on Sunday morning when the monster attacked, the state capital’s Emergency Medical Services confirmed.
Officials later revealed that they believe the giant predator was a massive 8ft-long tiger shark.
Luckily, fellow surfers were there to rush to his aid and help stem the bleeding by untying the leashes of their boards to wrap around his exposed stump.
Honolulu Ocean Safety added that their quick reactions may have saved the 58-year-old’s life.
Keani and Kamu Morita, his two adult children, thanked the surfers for their swift action and saving their dad.
On a GoFundMe setup to raise money for his surgery, they wrote: “(Morita) is a frequent surfer of this spot for about 40 years and is well known in the community.
“Thanks to the help of the brave surfers, first responders, and staff at Queens Hospital, my dad can live another day with his family.
“Unfortunately, due to the severe injuries suffered from the attack, he lost his right foot,” they said, adding that he was awaiting another surgery.
“His spirits are high and he has accepted his injury. He is embracing the challenges that he will face ahead and with God, his family, and his friends by his side he will remain positive and get through this.”
They decided to set up the page, which has already raised more than $62,000 of its $100,000 total, after receiving several calls from friends about how to help support him.
“We appreciate every one of you for your kind and encouraging words as my father recovers from this traumatic incident,” the page said.
“We have created this go fund me as a way for people to donate to his medical expenses.
“We are truly grateful for everyone’s generosity and hope that his story inspires everyone to count their blessings and appreciate every moment with their loved ones.”
Signs remained at the beach warning surfers of potential danger, while lifeguards and Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources officials continued to patrol the area in the days following the attack.
Surfer Felipe Trujillo told the news outlet afterwards: “I saw the board, and I said, ‘Oh my God! Wow!’ because he’s so close to Ala Moana and that this moment there’s so many people on the beach.
And fellow enthusiast Eric Kagawa added: “All these years I’ve been surfing, I’ve never heard of shark attacks by Ala Moana side, they’re kind of rare. Plus, it’s super shallow out there.”
Marine experts believe the recent rainy weather may have been a factor in the attack.
“It’s right at the mouth of the Ala Wai Canal, so all the water that runs down the mountains and feeds into the Ala Wai was being flushed down there,” Waikiki Aquarium Director Andrew Rossiter told KHON.
This article by Alan Johnson and Ryan Fahey was first published by The Mirror on 12 April 2023. Lead Image: Officials later revealed that they believe the giant predator was a massive 8ft-long tiger shark ( Image: Getty Images).
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