Man bitten by shark
On the mend. Andrew Masternak is recovering at home after being attacked by a shark last week in Mexico. Staff photo by Fred Loek
March 29, 2011
Andrew Masternak knows it could have been a lot worse.
The 46-year-old Sheridan Homelands man is recovering at home after being attacked by a shark last week while vacationing with his wife in Mexico.
The nerves and tendons in his foot have been severed. The muscle tissue has been damaged. He needed more than 50 stitches and will likely have to undergo plastic surgery to regain full use of his foot.
But Masternak, while frustrated, is happy to be alive.
"I'm just glad it swam away and didn't hold on," Masternak said today. "If it kept biting, maybe I wouldn't have made it."
Masternak was just two days into his trip at the H10 Ocean Coral Resort in the Mayan Riviera, about an hour outside of Cancun, when he went into the Atlantic Ocean for a swim on March 21.
About 10 metres into the water, he recalled, he felt a terrible pain on his foot, looked down and saw blood.
"I screamed when I realize what happened," he said. "I knew the pain was going to get worse, so I just tried to make it back to shore."
With the help of other swimmers, Masternak was taken from the ocean to the sandy beach, where his wife, Antea, looked on in horror.
"I'm glad she wasn't in the water with me," he said.
Paramedics transported Masternak to a Cancun hospital, where doctors operated on him.
Mexican medical officials suspect it was a shark bite, although they couldn't say with absolute certainty.
The Masternaks cut their trip short and returned home last Thursday (March 24).
Masternak will have to take at least a few weeks off from his job at Supreme Pierogies in Mississauga, so his injuries can heal.
He will be seeing a plastic surgeon in Toronto Friday.
According to Mexican reports, about 177,000 Canadians visit the Mayan Riviera each spring. This is the third reported shark attack in the Mayan this year.
Mexican civil authorities maintain shark attacks are rare for Cancun and the Mayan Riviera.
But, Masternak wanted to warn travellers to the Mayan to be careful and try to avoid straying far from the ocean shore.
"It's dangerous," he said. "I don't know if I'm ever going to go into the ocean again."