Keane Webre-Hayes, A 13-Year-Old Shark Attack Victim With 1000 Stitches, Vows To Swim Again

The teen, who is crazy about lobster diving, was also awarded with a lifetime fishing license and lifetime fishing privilege after he recovered from his ordeal.

Great white shark swimming near nets and schools of fish
Greg Amptman / Shutterstock

The teen, who is crazy about lobster diving, was also awarded with a lifetime fishing license and lifetime fishing privilege after he recovered from his ordeal.

Keane Webre-Hayes was attacked by what was at least a 10-foot shark on Sept. 30, resulting in him getting 1,000 stitches to repair where the shark tore into his face, back, shoulder and torso. The attack hasn’t dampened his spirit, though, and per People magazine, the 13-year-old is vowing to hit the ocean waters and swim again.

After the terrifying encounter and contending with the painful bites the shark gave him, it would be understandable if the teen never wanted to set foot in the ocean again. However, when Webre-Hayes went back to school, he enthusiastically told a packed classroom, “[I] definitely wanna get back out there, and go surfing again, really, really soon.”

A photo of Webre-Hayes circulated after the boy’s first public statements regarding the attack. In them, you can make out the winding scar the large fish left behind on his face. The shark attack on Webre-Hayes happened when he was diving off the coast of Encinitas in San Diego County with a friend. The friends were there to collect lobsters when the teen was attacked.

After the shark bit Webre-Hayes, he was able to swim to a kayak that was nearby. Chad Hammel was manning the kayak, and he told CBS News that he saw that the boy was in trouble and that he trailed “ten feet of blood behind him.” Luckily, Hammel was able to haul the boy into the kayak, and that’s when he noticed that the teen’s injuries exposed most of his clavicle and his back. He told reporters that the persistent shark was also swimming behind the kayak and that it appeared as if it wasn’t ready to give up just yet.

After the harrowing rescue, Keane Webre-Hayes was airlifted to a nearby hospital where staff worked for about five hours to repair the damage. The teen stayed there for two weeks, and during that time, he was listed in critical condition and later upgraded to serious condition. Webre-Hayes finally made it out of the woods, and his doctors said that he was expected to make a full recovery — albeit with a long road ahead of him while he does.

The shark attack on Keane Webre-Hayes was the first to happen on the Encinitas coastline in 30 years. Meanwhile, researchers are currently working with city officials to find out if the shark that attacked the teen is a Great White. Dr. Chris Lowe, who is the director of the University of California, Long Beach’s Shark Lab, had this to say about the 10-foot shark.

“Ten feet is still a juvenile; it would be a large juvenile. The shark just [mistook] this person for potential prey and took a bite.”

On Saturday, Keane Webre-Hayes attended the Wags and Waves event to support the California Wildlife Officers Foundation with his mom and sister. He was presented with a lifetime fishing license and lifetime fishing privilege at the event, according to NBC San Diego. He spoke about going lobster diving after receiving the lifetime award.

“For them to give me one for life means I go catch as many lobsters as I want.”

Additionally, Webre-Hayes told people at the event that he likes sharks more now than he did before one attacked him. His mother Ellie Hayes, who saw the shark attack her son, said that when he [goes lobster diving again], “he’ll be wrapped in bubble wrap.”