RANDOLPH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey teen was talking Tuesday about his close call with a 6-foot shark.
Christian Mercurio is bandaged and healing, but said he remembers the moment a bull shark crunched down on his legs.
“The bite felt like I was crushed by concrete,” the 17-year-old told CBS 2’s Dick Brennan on Tuesday. “I was just shocked when this was happening, so I just kicked it and all of a sudden it bit me again.”
Mercurio, who is from Randolph, was in Sanibel, Fla., last week, fishing in waist-high water, when it’s believed that a shark dug into his legs and feet.
“On my left foot a chunk was flapping, and it was close to my pinkie toe and I thought I was going to lose it,” Mercurio said.
He said he did his best to fight off the shark, which put its tooth right through the teen’s left foot, and then screamed for help.
“I started running in yelling ‘Shark!’ I dropped a couple of f-bombs, and on shore my parents heard,” Mercurio recalled.
But his mother didn’t get it right away.
“Initially, we were annoyed. We thought he was joking and we didn’t want him to create panic on the beach,” Lisa Mercurio said.
But it was soon clear that this was no joke.
“A few short moments we knew something was wrong because he was struggling to get out of the water,” Lisa Mercurio said.
Based on the bite wounds, investigators in Florida said they believe Christian Mercurio was attacked by a 6-8-foot bull shark, which are known for striking in the shallow water.
“I’m not mad at the shark because I’m swimming in its habitat,’ Christian Mercurio said.
Incredibly, the incident not the first time he has had trouble in the water.
“Last year I was fishing and I got bit by a snake,” he said.
Doctors said Christian Mercurio will make a full recovery — and will go fishing again, eventually. However, it’s not clear how long it will take before he will be able to walk without crutches.
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