The shark returned to bite Thornton several times before he managed to flee the surf.

North Carolina Shark Attack Victim Recounts Punching Predator During Fight

A 47-year-old who was attacked by a shark last week while swimming off the North Carolina coast has recounted his battle with the predator, revealing that he punched the animal in an attempt to escape.

Patrick Thornton was swimming in shallow water off Avon beach with his family last Friday when a tug upon his foot became the first indication that he had encountered a shark. The predator, thought to be roughly five-feet-long, latched on to Thornton’s leg, causing the beachgoer to immediately strike back, ABC news reports.

“It took a pretty big chunk out of my right leg, so I started punching the shark, and then it grabbed my back and must have bit me in the back,” Thornton recalled.

After Thornton lashed out at the shark, the animal briefly retreated. Thornton’s niece, nephew, and son had been swimming with him when the attack occurred, and two of the children had fled the water at the first sign of the shark. Thornton’s son, however, remained paralyzed with fear until his father began to pull him toward shore. It was at this inopportune moment, however, that the shark chose to strike once again.

“I ran over and grabbed Jack, and as I was bringing him to the shore, the shark came and bit me again in the back, and this time he bit me really, really hard.”

At that point, Thornton punched the shark once again, and the fish finally moved away, allowing the swimmers to get to shore. Thornton was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for wounds inflicted during his run-in with the shark.

The North Carolina coastline has seen an increase in shark attacks over the last month, with a decidedly above-average number of incidents transpiring, as the Inquisitr previously reported. Researchers have asserted that the increase in attacks may be the result of a greater number of beachgoers flocking to the shore, leading to a greater potential for shark encounters.

While it is rare for shark attacks to happen in the same area, such incidents have taken place twice in North Carolina this month. At Oak Island, two children were attacked by sharks within two miles and 90 minutes of each other. Along the Outer Banks, two attacks took place over two days, as USA Today notes.

Even though there are likely to be more shark incidents in the coming months, the International Shark Attack file reveals that bees, wasps, and snakes are often responsible for more yearly deaths in the United States. Despite the recent events in North Carolina, a beachgoer’s chances of experiencing a shark attack remain exceedingly slim.

[Image: DJ Harrison / People via Twitter]

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