Shark attack victim shares how he was bitten off the coast of Boca Grande
BOCA GRANDE, Fla. – A fisherman was attacked by an 8-foot bull shark Wednesday off the coast of Boca Grande.
The captain of Boca Grande Fishing Charters, Danny Latham, said Paul Kelly fell into the water while tarpon fishing near Boca Grande Pass. While he was in the water, the bull shark swam over, attacked him, and bit him in the leg.
“I reeled him all the way down and one foot slipped, and 150-pound tarpon just threw me into the water,” Kelly explained from his hospital bed. “Next thing I know, something hits me and it’s the tarpon. But it’s not, it’s the bull shark.”
Captain Latham said they pulled Kelly out of the water and had him back to shore within 15 minutes. Fire crews rushed to the dock directly across from the Pink Elephant Restaurant to meet the fishing crew.
“I never had any pain, I never felt that. Never felt the shark, I thought the tarpon hit me,” Kelly said.
Kelly was rushed to the hospital. He said he will be okay, and only has about five stitches and a few staples.
The Boca Grande Fire Chief said crews haven’t responded to a shark bite in more than 10 years.
Paul Kelly Shark Attack 05-01-2019
was on a six-hour fishing trip May 1 with two others off Boca Grande Pass, Florida when he hooked a 150-pound tarpon.
The Texas fisherman tried to reel in the fish, but was pulled overboard and underwater.
As he struggled underwater, he felt something hit his leg.
The boat captain used a fishing rod to pull him back to the boat, and with the help of Kelly’s fishing buddy, they pulled the angler back into the boat.
Once Kelly was back on the vessel, the captain told him they saw an estimated 8- to 10-foot bull shark grab his leg.
Kelly felt no pain, but sustained a gash around his left calf and knee. The group worked together to secure a tourniquet around the Vietnam veteran’s leg and headed into shore.
“We lost the fish of course,” Kelly told news outlet azcentral. “That was the worst part.”
Emergency personnel were waiting on shore and prepared Kelly for air evacuation. Surgeon Robert O’Connor repaired the torn tendon in Kelly’s knee and said he should be able to leave the hospital in several days. He also remarked at how rare shark bites are, and that this was the first one he had seen in ten years.