As we previously reported, Mike Morita, a 58-year-old surfer from Hawaii, was attacked by an eight-foot tiger shark while surfing Kewalo Basin on Sunday, April 9th.

Morita lost his right foot in the attack, and he’s currently recovering in the hospital. And now, he’s sharing his story from his hospital bed. In an interview with KHON2, Morita explained what happened, and how he fought off the shark.

“As the pressure got stronger and harder, I could feel the strength of it,” Morita said. “Right away I knew it was a shark. It kind me off the board and under the water.”

From there, Morita started punching the shark. And when that didn’t work, he wrapped his arms and legs around the shark to get to its eyes.

“I wrapped my arm and body around it,” he said. “At that point, I was trying to go for the eyes. But my hand ended up around the gills. As soon as I touched around the gills, it let go.”

Then, his friends who were surfing with him rushed over to help.

“When they reached me, the shark was still on me,” he said. “They were scared for their lives, too. When it finally let go, they were there for me. They were in shock also.”

His friends put Morita on a surfboard to get him to shore. But when they saw the damage on his leg, they knew they had to stop the bleeding.

“My friends tied tourniquets on my leg with their leashes,” he said. “That’s hard to do. It’s hard to tie a leash as a tourniquet.”

But Morita believes that the quick action from his friends in the water, and the makeshift surf leash tourniquets to quell the bleeding, are what saved his life.

Morita thinks that his story can serve as an inspiring message for others:

“I want everybody to learn to this. Maybe this can inspire other people who are going through tough times. We can get through things. I’m grateful to be alive.”

As for whether or not he’ll surf again? Morita is hopeful:

“The doctors are telling me that it’s up to me what I want to do. Yes, I’d like to surf again. But if I never surf again, I’m still happy. I’ll be alright.”

For more, check out the GoFundMe account Morita’s children put together to help pay for his medical fees. 


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