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Cape Cod Shark Attack Victim Explains How He Survived

William Lytton says he punched shark in the gills
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 29, 2018 5:00 AM CDT
William Lytton, of Scarsdale, N.Y., right, has his vital signs checked by physical therapist Caitlin Geary, left, at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, in Boston, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, while recovering...   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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(Newser) – The man bitten by a shark off Cape Cod this month said on Tuesday he escaped by punching the powerful predator in the gills after it clamped down on his leg, the AP reports. In his first interview since the Aug. 15 attack, William Lytton said he'd been swimming in about "8 to 10 feet" of water off Truro, Mass., when he felt an incredible pain shoot through his left leg and quickly realized he was being attacked by a shark. The 61-year-old neurologist from Scarsdale, NY, said he gave the animal a strong smack in the gills with his left hand, a move that likely saved his life but also resulted in some torn tendons. He now sports an arm cast as well as bandages and a brace around most of his left leg.

"I initially was terrified, but, really, there was no time to think," he said, recounting the ordeal following a physical therapy session at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, where he's been since Sunday. "It doesn't feel like I did anything heroic. A lot of this was luck." Lytton said he must have recalled from nature documentaries that the gills were one of the most vulnerable parts of the shark. After the animal broke its grip, he took a few strong stokes back to shore where he shouted for help. Someone alerted his wife, who had been on the beach with their two young daughters and family friends. He was airlifted to Tufts Medical Center in Boston where he said he was placed into a two-day coma, underwent six surgeries, and had nearly 12 pints of blood pumped into him. Pieces of shark teeth were cleaned out of his wounds and his bandages cover "hundreds" of sutures used to stitch back together muscles and skin. More from the interview here.

(Read more shark attack stories.)

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