KIHEI, Maui - The 61-year-old Lake Oswego man bitten by a shark during his Hawaii vacation last week is glad to be back home in Oregon now.
Tom Kennedy was briefly hospitalized after the attack. The shark took a chunk out of his left leg,, barely missing a major artery and his Achilles tendon.
He said he was snorkeling about 250 yards offshore of Maui when he felt a sudden pain and turned to look the 10-foot shark right in the eye.
"You can't put it into words. The smallest difference in how he would have bit me would have changed the outcome," Kennedy said.
He said he managed to swim about a hundred yards to his paddle board and then his family and members of a nearby canoe club helped him get to shore. He said the scariest part was getting away from the shark as his leg bled.
Once he reached the shore, he spotted the shark still circling in the water.
“It didn’t hurt so much, it was mainly fear of a second attack. As I went further, it started to bleed and I could see I was trailing blood which is my next concern," Kennedy said. "Like the EMT told me on the way here, you could have had this, you could’ve been struck by lightning. The odds are about the same. I think it’s what goes with the experience.”
Doctors in Hawaii operated on Kennedy's leg and then put it in a cast.
He flew home Tuesday night and the next day in Lake Oswego, was headed to a followup appointment with his local doctor to make sure everything was healing correctly.
He said he's pretty sore and limping around on crutches, but feels so thankful to be home safe after such a close call.