BOSTON (CBSNewYork) – A year after a Long Island man was attacked by a shark in Cape Cod, he’s thanking first responders for saving his life, and warning people to be careful in the ocean.

“It’s a pleasure to be back under these circumstances,” said Dr. William Lytton. He can’t believe he survived to tell the tale of his near-fatal shark attack last August, and thank his rescuers.

It happened as he was swimming in about 10 feet of water just off the Cape Cod coast.

“It was very obvious when I turned around and saw this, this large animal stuck to my leg,” he said.

The neurologist said the Great White shark tried to drag him under the water, but he instinctively punched it in the gills and the shark released him.

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Moments later, first responders rushed into the water to save him.

“There was a significant amount of tissue loss and we needed to bring him along slowly in order to actually close the wounds,” Dr. Eric Mahoney said.

Dr. Lytton had nine surgeries in 11 days at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Now he’s thanking everyone there who treated his life-threatening injuries.

He’s also warning people to beware before entering the ocean.

“There is a problem but it’s really more of a problem for the biologists and ecologists out there to figure out how to deal with it. It’s going to be a problem for Cape Cod,” Lytton said.

He says he never expected an animal so dangerous to be lurking just offshore.

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