Happy to be alive .... Tourist Jordi Gracia on his hospital bed in Lautoka after being bitten by a shark in waters off Kulukulu in Sigatoka
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Happy to be alive .... Tourist Jordi Gracia on his hospital bed in Lautoka after being bitten by a shark in waters off Kulukulu in Sigatoka. BELOW: Gracia's injured foot. Picture: BALJEET SINGH
A SPANISH tourist was out surfing along the Coral Coast waters unaware of the danger that lurked beneath him.
On Friday morning, Jordi Gracia and 12 others were taking their morning surfing lessons on the waters off Kulukulu in Sigatoka when he was attacked by a shark.
"I was trying to swim out into the waves when I felt sharp teeth snap around my ankle and tugged at it," said Mr Gracia.
Witnesses said in seconds the water around him turned red with his blood.
Mr Gracia immediately turned back to shores.
"My first thought was to get out of the water as soon as possible. I did not feel any pain at first because I was in shock."
Upon reaching the shore, he found a deep, open wound around his ankle.
"My friends took me to the Sigatoka Hospital where I was later transferred to Lautoka Hospital," he said.
Mr Gracia and his friend, Albert Martinez, have been travelling around the globe and Fiji was their third stop after spending weeks in New Zealand and Australia.
Shark attacks at the Sigatoka River mouth is not uncommon. There have been documented attacks. In 2006, surfer Paul Chong Sue, 21, was bitten on the arm while paddling out to catch a wave at the Sigatoka River mouth, on March 18. Fellow surfer, Ratu Naiqama told The Fiji Times, in an interview: "The shark came from below his board and bit his right arm."
For the attack on Friday, Mr Martinez said, "I was really worried about him because when I saw the amount of blood I thought the shark had ruptured an artery. I only focused on getting him out of the water and after we had reached the hospital I was very relieved."
Originally from Barcelona, Spain, the two, who are journalists, were to return to Australia then head off to South America.
"We normally are the ones writing the news but this time we are the stories," said Mr Martinez.
The two are radio and television journalists in Spain.
"This has not changed our views of Fiji. We definitely will return because I believe that if it happened once it can't happen twice," said Mr Gracia.
Mr Gracia is recovering at the Lautoka Hospital and hopes to be swinging on the dance floors of Buenos Aires next month.