A shark attack survivor literally fought for his life and managed to escape what is presumed to be a great white shark by engaging in an epic battle with the marine predator.
The man is 61-year-old neurologist William Lytton of Scarsdale, New York, who fended off a massive shark near a Cape Cod beach by punching the predator in the gills, reports Fox News.
Earlier this month, Lytton was vacationing in Massachusetts, enjoying the sun and waves at a beach in Truro, when he was snatched by a massive shark some 30 yards from the shore. The incident occurred near Long Nook Beach and was the first to happen in the area since 2012, the Inquisitr reported at the time.
According to BGR, the shark came out of nowhere and chomped down on Lytton's left leg, causing what doctors are describing as "very severe injuries."
But Lytton wasn't about to go down without a fight and had the presence of mind to smack the shark in the gills as the predator was biting down on his leg. The victim unleashed a flurry of punches on the shark's gills and eventually managed to break free from the animal's jaws.
"I was terrified, but, really, there was no time to think," said Lytton, who has been recuperating at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston ever since the shark attack.
In the aftermath, Lytton was left with three torn tendons on his left hand from fighting the aquatic beast. The man also sustained extensive puncture wounds to his leg and torso and was airlifted to the hospital.The 61-year-old neurologist puts his miraculous survival down to plain old luck. However, he did tell reporters that he probably drew inspiration from nature documentaries reporting that sharks have vulnerable gills and that's how he likely got the idea to fight back and go for the gills.
"It doesn't feel like I did anything heroic," he said. "A lot of this was luck."
The dramatic encounter was so brutal that the shark lost a few teeth, which the medical team removed from the man's leg and which are currently being studied to determine whether the shark that bit Lytton was a great white.Following the attack, Lytton underwent eight surgeries and hundreds of sutures and received nearly 12 pints of blood.
"These were extensive, very severe injuries," said Dr. Eric Mahoney, the trauma surgeon who treated Lytton. "He had multiple lacerations from his hip down to just above his knee that went 75 percent around his leg. In two areas they went all the way down to the bone."
The patient was initially placed in a medically-induced coma for two days while doctors attended to his wounds and repaired his broken body. Luckily for Lytton, the shark missed critical nerves and veins, while also leaving the bone intact, notes Fox News.