61-Year-Old Shark Attack Victim Survives By Punching Shark In Gills


A 61-year-old man survived a shark attack by punching the predator in the gills. What are some survival tips for when one is attacked or bitten by a shark?

Shark Attack At Cape Cod

In early August, Bill Lytton experienced an ordeal that most people only see in movies or hear about as rare, unfortunate occurrences. He was on vacation with his family at Longnook Beach in Cape Cod when, while swimming a few yards away from the shore, he suddenly felt his leg being pulled along with a pain he described as “beyond excruciating.”

According to Lytton, he felt as though the animal pulling his leg was trying to flip him over, and he found out that it was a shark when he turned around and saw its big head on his leg. Fortunately, Lytton remembered seeing in documentaries how dolphins hit the gills, so he punched the shark in the gill and it released his leg and swam away.

With just enough energy left, Lytton swam to the shore where there were people who were close enough to hear his help, two of them were even nursing graduates who helped pull him to the shore and stop the bleeding. Eventually, Lytton was airlifted to a hospital where he had to be placed under coma for two days while he received six surgeries, and he underwent rehabilitation just 10 days after being attacked.

According to an expert, based on the shark teeth fragments recovered from the wound, information from the doctors who treated Lytton, and information Lytton himself provided, the shark that attacked him was likely a great white shark, a shark species with a heavy presence in the area.

As for Lytton, he states that while he plans to swim in the ocean again, he is a little hesitant to swim in the same beach.

Surviving A Shark Attack

It was Lytton’s quick thinking and know-how that allowed him to survive a shark attack, but what should one really do when being attacked or bitten by one of the ocean’s top predators?

Lytton was right in defending himself with whatever means he could, although it is not advisable to do so with bare hands. If it is inevitable, however, blows would be best directed at the shark’s sensitive areas in the gills, the snout, and the eyes. It is unwise to “play dead” in this scenario, and the best possible way to survive is to aggressively defend yourself.

The next important thing to remember is to try to immediately get out of the water as quickly and calmly as possible. Although many sharks do not attack twice, it is not impossible for a second attack to occur. Once out of the water, the survivor’s wound must get medical attention immediately no matter the size of the wound, and bleeding must be controlled by applying pressure on the wound site.

Naturally, it’s best to prevent shark attacks in the first place by being vigilant of one’s actions and surroundings when in the water, but there’s no harm in knowing what to do when the unexpected happens.

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