TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Miami man said he was “blindsided” by a shark off the Florida Keys last week.
Kevin Blanco, 20, and his friends were nearly 70 feet underwater when he said a bull shark turned their fun into terror, according to NBC affiliate WTVJ.
Blanco believes he was bitten by a bull shark. The shark bit his thigh twice.
“Blindsided by the side, ” he told WTVJ. “I don’t really remember the pain but I remember the pressure and the force that he hit my leg with. I feel like I got hit by an F-150.”
Luckily, Blanco’s friend Daniel Maduro was there to help.
“After he let go and swam off I never looked back I couldn’t tell you if the shark went to the surface … couldn’t tell you anything,” Maduro said.
Maduro said he saw Blanco scream so he quickly jumped into action by grabbing his buddy and swimming to their boat to call 911.
“I took my belt off my weight belt took all the weight off and tightened as much as I could because he was losing a lot of blood fast,” Maduro said.
Blanco said he is grateful for his friend and the first responders in Monroe County that helped rescue him.
Doctors at Jackson South told WTVJ that they have seen more than three shark bites in the last month. They said Blanco’s bite could have been a lot worse.
“The good thing is he didn’t have any major artery bleeding or big vessel bleeding so we know he can have a full recovery,” Dr. Antonio Marttos said.
Blanco said he might hold off on spearfishing but he can’t wait to get back underwater.
Blanco’s father said he is grateful that his son’s friends were there to help.
“Had my son gotten and they got scared off and went to the surface, my son probably wouldn’t have been here,” Omar Blanco said.
Doctors said Kevin Blanco needs to have one more surgery. If all goes well, he could be released from the hospital next week.