Hawaii: Surfer gave shark who had bitten his foot a bear hug to survive | US News

Mike Morita survived a shark attack in Oahu's Kewalo Basin

Mike Morita survived a shark attack in Oahu’s Kewalo Basin (Image: AP)

A surfer who lost his foot after being bitten by a shark survived by “bear hugging” the predator.

Mike Morita, 58, was surfing in Oahu’s Kewalo Basin on Sunday morning when he was attacked by an 8-foot tiger shark. Morita was eventually rescued by other surfers who made a tourniquet out of their surfboard lines in the water.

Morita’s son Kamu wrote in an update on a GoFundMe page for his father that “thanks to the help of brave surfers, first responders and staff at Queens Hospital, my father is able to live another day with his family”.

Kamu explained how Morita was able to survive the vicious attack.

Mike Morita freed himself from the shark after giving it a bear hug around the gills

Mike Morita freed himself from the shark after giving it a bear hug around the gills (Image: Facebook/kamu.morita)

“Somehow after being flung around, he kind of came face to face with (the shark) with his foot still in his mouth and he was kind of able to bear him, hug him and dig his gills and eyes, and that really was the Timing it finally let go,” Morita’s son told Hawaii News Now.

Morita said he was waiting for waves when he felt a bite on his leg.

“It wasn’t really like a chew. It was just pressure,” Morita told KHON. “I can feel its strength and knew immediately it was a shark.”

Morita recalled the moment the shark let go.

Mike Morita is in good spirits and'accepted his injury'

Mike Morita is in good spirits and has ‘accepted his injury’ (Image: Kamu Morita)

“I put my arm around it and my body around it. And at that point, I tried to reach for the eyes, but my hand ended up on the gills,” Morita said. ‘As soon as I touched the gills, it let go.’

Despite the shark’s presence, Morita’s friends paddled out to help him.

“They said when they got to me the shark was still on me so they were scared for their lives too but when it finally let go they were there for me,” Morita said. “They were also in shock.”

Doctors had to amputate Morita’s right foot.

“His spirits are high and he has accepted his injury,” reads the GoFundMe page, which had raised more than $80,000 as of Friday night.

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Justin Scaccy

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