Shark attack survivor recalls hit
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.