NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man who survived an attacked by a shark said it wasn’t only doctors and nurses who saved his life, but also the people who donated blood.

Now he’s calling on others to follow their example.

“It caught my left leg between my knee and my ankle and I heard its teeth go crunch,” survivor Krishna Thompson told CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson.

That was the sound of a bull shark biting Thompson’s lower left leg. He was in the Bahamas in 2001 on a trip with his wife to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary.

Thompson was swimming alone when the shark clamped on his leg, and started dragging him out to sea.

“We’re out in the deep and the shark actually pulls me down,” Thompson said.

When the shark stopped shaking me like a rag doll, then it was the time for me to take action.

Thompson punched the shark.

“Then I took both of my hands and I grabbed its mouth and I pried it open and I released my leg,” Thompson said. “I pretended I was Muhammad Ali and I started giving it combination punches…and the shark swam away.”

Thompson swam to shore, his lower left leg practically gone. He was rushed to the hospital and went into cardiac arrest. Doctors were forced to amputate his leg.

“I was able to get blood transfusions in the Bahamas and that’s what saved my life,” Thompson said.

After his brush with death, Thompson has a message for would-be blood donors.

“You’re just as important, perhaps more important, than the doctors and nurses and the medical staff because without blood they can’t do what they are supposed to do,” Thompson said.

Thompson now swims, and sometimes plays basketball.

He said when he was trapped in the jaws of the shark, he regretted that he didn’t have children. He now has two, a boy and girl.

To donate blood or for information on how to organize a blood drive, please call the NY Blood Center toll free at 1-800-933-2566 or visit them on the web at

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