AN AUSTRALIAN surfer has undergone eight surgeries and spent two months recovering in hospital after his arm was torn to pieces by a large white shark.
Joe Hoffman, 25, had a near-fatal encounter with the deadly beast on July 5 off picturesque Killick Beach in New South Wales.
Talk to ABC News, Joe admitted that conditions that day were particularly “sharky”.
This was because it was late in the afternoon, 16:30 to be exact and election season.
But the 25-year-old said he and his friend, who had traveled more than 290 miles from Byron Bay, were willing to take their chances.
He had been out at sea for half an hour when the waves began to roll in.
“It was a big wave,” he recalls. “Small tube at the end.”
Buzzing after the success of his first wave, Joe paddled back.
It was then when he dived under a wave that the big white man took a piece from the board before tearing his arm to pieces.
“I think when I have dived into the scales [the shark] has taken a piece from the board, he says.
“Then it may have gone again and taken another look and got my arm.”
It took Joe a few minutes to realize what had happened.
“It’s so fast,” he explained. “It was there and just disappeared. In a way, I think it helped my PTSD because I can not tell.
“I was thinking of many other factors. I was still a little hungry for the scales.”
Remaining calm, Joe waited for the next wave and went to the beach where spectators came to his aid.
By chance, the spectators happened to be nurses, anesthetists and trauma surgeons.
“There is no doubt that it would have been a disastrous outcome if any of these people were not involved,” Joe said.
“I would not have made it to the beach. I would have bled.”
In the attack, the large white man snapped both legs in his forearm, cut several tendons and cut his radial nerve.
The 25-year-old was flown to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle that evening.
In just ten days, Joe underwent eight surgeries – and spent more than 30 hours in the operating room.
It is unknown if Joe will ever have full mobility in his arm again but the surfer is optimistic.
“One small improvement I have is amazing,” he said.
“I have to take it afterwards. I was close to not having an arm.”
As of 2010, the number of shark attacks has exploded around the world as swimmers continue to ignore carnage warning signs.
America has surpassed Australia for the number of attacks with Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which is now considered the world’s shark capital.
Despite a sharp rise in brutal wildlife and signs warning of attacks on beaches in the United States and Australia, swimmers are still at risk.
The The United States recorded the largest number of shark bites, reported 33 incidents, while Australia recorded 18.
A total of 791 shark attacks have been reported between 2010 and 2019, according to data published by the International Shark Attack File, with an annual global average of 80 bites.
It shows an incredible increase compared to data from 1970 to 1979, when only 157 attacks were reported.
Surfers and water sports lovers seem to be the main targets and accounted for 61 percent of the victims last year.
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