In an interview with Al Jazeera, one of the victims of the shark attack in San Diego, California, Philadelphians Mike Kortech and his daughter, who was on vacation with him, said they were at a party with friends when they were approached by a large shark.
“It just happened so fast,” said Kortch, an attorney who represents some of the people who have been injured in shark attacks in the US.
“I just started running and screaming and yelling, and then the shark was already there.
I mean, I thought, I’m going to die here.””
He was so big.
I mean, I thought, I’m going to die here.”
Kortech, who said he is a veteran of the US military and was stationed in the Gulf in the 1990s, said that the shark “got on my chest and started to pummel me and bite me”.
“He was really strong, and I don’t think he even tried to grab my phone, which is why I couldn’t really call 911 because I was so scared,” he said.
It was so bad that I started to cry, because it’s just a horrible thing to have happen.””
Then he just bit me in the face, and it was just like a big, nasty, deep wound.
It was so bad that I started to cry, because it’s just a horrible thing to have happen.”
Kompas says he was able to call 911, but that the emergency response team didn’t arrive until 20 minutes later.
“It was very painful, and when I went to get some medical attention, I found out I had a broken nose, and that’s when I was able just to run back and get my daughter to safety,” he told Al Jazeera.
Kortch said that when he called 911, he had difficulty speaking because of the pain in his mouth, but the dispatcher assured him that he was OK.
“I asked him if he could give me some painkillers, and he told me to take them,” Kortoch said.
The victim, who is still recovering in hospital, said the incident left him with a “bitterness” and an “unbearable anger”.
“It’s like the guy that punched me in my face,” he continued.
“So, that’s why I don’ believe he could have done something like that.”
Kortsch said he feels like his story is one of a small number of people who are being hurt by shark attacks, and not all of them are being taken seriously.
“In my opinion, there are a lot of people that don’t have a story to tell, that are just trying their best to survive, and unfortunately, a lot are being ignored by the authorities,” he added.
The US has one of its worst shark-bite rates in the world, with more than 500 confirmed fatalities since 2004.
In the last year alone, four people have died after being struck by a shark in Florida.
“The worst thing is that there’s no accountability for those who are actually responsible for shark attacks,” Kompas said.
“And that’s a big problem.
It’s not just the shark that’s at fault here, it’s also the people in the business, who don’t know what’s really happening and don’t want to come forward.”