Shark at­tack sur­vivor re­calls hit

The Maui News - - TODAY’S PEOPLE -

SAN DIEGO — A surfer at­tacked by a shark ear­lier this year re­called punch­ing the preda­tor and dig­ging her fin­gers into its eye as she was dragged be­low the waves off South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

Leeanne Eric­son told ABC News’ “Good Morn­ing Amer­ica” on Fri­day that she ini­tially thought a cu­ri­ous seal was bump­ing the un­der­side of her surf­board at San Onofre Beach near San Diego on a sunny day in April.

Sud­denly she was knocked into the wa­ter and a 10-foot great white chomped her leg.

“I felt it grab me and pull me down,” she said. “My only con­cern was my breath­ing.”

Eric­son ag­gres­sively fought back as the ju­ve­nile shark gripped her right thigh and de­scended fast. She punched the crea­ture and when she rammed her fin­gers into an eye, it “felt like I was dig­ging out a cup of Jell-O,” she said.

The 35-year-old mother of three said she has no idea why the shark even­tu­ally let her go. “It could have been me hurt­ing it,” Eric­son said.

With the help of other surfers, Eric­son was able to get to shore, where she was rushed by he­li­copter to a hos­pi­tal.

Af­ter nine weeks and eight op­er­a­tions, she is re­cov­er­ing from the bite to her right thigh that went down to the bone.

Her fam­ily has set up a crowd-fund­ing site to help with med­i­cal bills. De­spite hav­ing in­sur­ance, she said the costs have put her in a deep fi­nan­cial hole.

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