Shark victim’s damaged hand is reattached


By Erin Miller

Stephens Media

Paul Santos, who was attacked by a 15-foot shark at Kiholo Bay Thursday, will likely keep his hand, despite the shark nearly biting it off, the friend who was surfing with him before the attack said Monday.

Steve Macres was about 30 feet closer to shore than Santos when the shark attacked, Macres said Monday. Macres offered a slightly different account of the event than others who attended to the injured man, as well as an update on Santos’ injuries.

“I turned to catch a wave and heard Paul let out this scream, and then silence,” Macres said. “I thought he was dead.”

Macres saw a shark hit Santos “like a torpedo,” just once, and saw his friend’s surfboard fly in the opposite direction.

“I thought, Paul’s dead,” Macres said. “I’m getting the hell out of here. I looked back. I see him paddling for me.”

Santos shouted to Macres, calling out that his hand had been detached from his arm. Doctors would later tell Santos one blood vessel remained intact, enough to keep just enough blood pumping in to the hand to save it, Macres said.

Macres didn’t paddle back toward his friend, but waited until Santos caught up to him. They paddled to shore together, collapsing on the sand. Santos immediately went for his surfboard leash, still attached to his ankle.

“Paul did that right away,” Macres said, adding his friend yelled, “’Tourniquet, now.’ … If I wasn’t there, Paul would have tied that around his bicep (himself) and walked out.”

Santos apparently scared the shark away, by punching the animal repeatedly, Macres said. Santos declined, through his brother, to speak with Stephens Media directly.

“He saved himself,” Macres said. “I want everyone to know that.”

Macres said Santos is in very good physical condition and one of his workouts involves a punching bag, training that Santos put to use to escape the shark. Macres also emphasized that Santos got himself back to shore on his own strength.

Once ashore, Santos asked Macres to grab one of their towels, to cover up his hand. Macres said Santos said he didn’t want to look at the injury. The injury to Santos’s knee was relatively minor, Macres added, as though a shark tooth nicked it and cut the skin, but the injury wasn’t severe.

From the minute Macres witnessed the attack, he was calling to the lone tourist on the beach to call 911. It took several shouts before the man understood him, Macres said.

The two men shouldn’t have gone surfing that afternoon, Macres said. It was close to sunset and they couldn’t see anything in the water.

“I was telling him it was ‘so sharky now,’” Macres said. “Only about two minutes later, he got nailed.”

Email Erin Miller at emiller@westhawaiitoday.com

 

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