Rady Children's Hospital

‘I Got Bit': Rescuer Describes Helping Shark Attack Victim to Safety

Chad Hammel said he was catching lobster at Beacon’s Beach Saturday morning when he heard a teenage boy scream. “And I just thought [he] got like a big one, and I was happy for him.”

Hammel quickly realized, however, that the boy wasn’t yelling in excitement.

“He kept screaming, and then like I kinda heard, ‘I got bit.’” Hammel quickly took action, paddling toward the boy.

He said there was blood in the water all around the boy. “His entire back was open,” he said. “You could tell the shark bit him in the clavicle, ripped open everything in the back, and then the top teeth came down and got his cheek.

He said a lifeguard grabbed the kayak and started swimming toward the shore while Hammel paddled the kayak.

“We got him in past the shore and everything, but the shark followed,” he said. “We got him in past the surf, brought him up, helicopter came.”

Hammel said they were in about 15 feet of water while the boy was in about 10 feet of water. “When he got bit he didn’t swim towards the shore, he panicked and started swimming towards, you know, us,” he said. “He was just trying to swim to somebody. He just needed help. He just kept yelling.”

There were three rescuers in total, including an off-duty police officer and a state parks lifeguard.

The victim is in critical condition at Rady Children’s Hospital.

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