Dededo fisherman recalls shark attack
By Clynt Ridgell
Published May 13, 2009
Shark attack victim Jonathan Leon Guerrero gave a one-on-one account of a fishing story that he's happy he survived to tell. The 27-year-old shark bite survivor from Astumbo, Dededo says he his twin brother and three of his friends went spearfishing over the reef Tuesday afternoon at Ritidian Beach when a shark began to circle them.
"So I was in this one spot where all the fish were at and I was just shooting having a good time shooting all the fish I can," he recalled. "And then my friends came and when they came a shark came and it was surrounding us."
Leon Guerrero says they were in about 30' of water and the 4' blacktip shark was more interested in their catch than them. "One of my friends decided to shoot the shark, and then after that one of my other friends shot it and my brother shot it, and then so right there I went up to it and grabbed it. I was holding it by the tail, I stuck my spear inside the gills so it won't move. I was using my gun for leverage," he said.
He then swam into the reef with the shark still in hand. As he was getting up onto the reef, a series of two waves knocked him down, causing him to lose hold of the shark. He continued, "Right when I was getting up he turned and bit my arm he latched onto my arm so I grabbed him and held him in place so he won't move and tear my arm apart, but it was already too late."
Luckily, the shark gave up and let go of his arm. "The shark split after it bit me," said Leon Guerrero. "I guess it had enough of me."
One of his friends grabbed his rash guard and used it to wrap Leon Guerrero's arm while they helped him back into shore. A friendly bystander called 911 for Leon Guererro, and he has been at the Guam Memorial Hospital ever since.
Shortly before we interviewed him he underwent surgery performed by Dr. Brian Bates. Bates says the lacerations were about a half-inch deep and caused some muscle and even some nerve damage. The good news, said the physician, "He'll keep his arm and he'll heal up okay and have some numbness and an ugly scar. And a story to tell."
So this means Leon Guerrero should have full use of his arm and hand. When asked about this traumatic experiencem and whether he'll return to the water to fish, he instantly said, "Hell, yeah! I just gotta wait for my arms to heal up, I'm not gonna let that bring me down. I'm a freakin' diehard fisherman!"
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