Right in the gills.
Over the summer, a 61-year-old swimmer in Cape Cod faced down a shark attack. But William Lytton survived to tell the tale, and shared his shark fighting technique with the Associated Press. Simply put, punch it straight in the gills.
Lytton was enjoying a summer vacation in Massachusetts, when he suddenly felt an intense pain run through his left leg. He instantly realized it was a shark attack.
‘‘I initially was terrified, but, really, there was no time to think,’’ he tells the AP. He only remembered the advice from nature documentaries saying gills were a weak point. He remembered correctly. Although common myth says a shark’s nose is its weak point, it’s really the gills.
Giving the shark what the AP refers to as a “strong smack” with his left hand, Lytton was able to free himself of the shark’s bite. The shark had embedded its teeth in Lytton’s leg and death was a very real possibility. As the shark loosened its grip on Lytton’s leg, it also tore away several tendons.
Still stranded in the ocean, Lytton took several strong strokes towards the shore and after a certain distance, started shouting for help. Other beachgoers luckily included off-duty nurses and medical professionals who were able to stem the bleeding.
‘‘The pain was really excruciating,’’ Lytton says. ‘‘I remember the helicopter landing and then nothing for the next two days.’’
During that time period, Lytton fell into a coma. He was airlifted to Tufts Medical Center where he underwent 6 surgeries and received 12 pints of blood, beginning his long road to recovery.
The shark didn’t hit any critical nerves and veins and there was no major bone damage, so Lytton’s rehab will take weeks instead of years. After a few weeks at Tufts Medical Center, Lytton will head back home to New York for more rehab.
While shark attacks are uncommon, they do happen. Researchers in Australia are using machine learning to build drones that are able to detect sharks in the water.
Source: Boston Globe