Daytona beach florida shark attack in 2015 new smyrna beach shark attacks on Phillip Tarasovic
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A teenage surfer bitten by a shark at New Smyrna Beach Sunday spoke with Channel 9 about his ordeal.
Phillip Tarasovic, 14, of Vero Beach, is in good spirits a day after a five-foot blacktip shark bit his left hand, tearing tendons and nerves.
Tarasovic said he punched the shark in its face after it bit him as he paddled through the water on his surfboard Sunday morning.
“As I was raising my left hand out of the water, it came to the surface and grabbed my hand,” he said. “And it kind of shook its head and thrashed. And I took my right hand, with the palm of my hand, I tried to push it off."
The shark swam off and the surfer hurried back to shore.
“I just used my right hand and held my other hand up because I was trying not to get blood in the water,” he said.
Once on shore, a jogger took off her shirt and wrapped it around the boy’s hand to help stop the bleeding.
Tarasovic was brought to Bert Fish Medical Center before being transferred to Halifax Health Medical Center, where he underwent surgery.
"I was really grateful for all the nurses and doctors and my friends in Vero that helped me out when I got hurt,” he said.
Tarasovic said his days of surfing haven’t ended. He said he’ll get back in the water once he recovers, but he’s leery of returning to his favorite surf spot.
“I probably won’t surf in New Smyrna for a while," he said.
Tarasovic will be released from the hospital Tuesday. He faces months of physical therapy, but doctors expect him to make a full recovery.
Ten people have been bitten by sharks in Volusia County this year.