The 11-year-old Hamilton boy, who was at the beach with his dad and brother, said he was walking in knee-deep water when something bit his right foot.
“It almost felt like human teeth, and then I ran out screaming,” Christian Mariani told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday at the hospital. “I am feeling fine now, but, of course, when the shark bit me, it wasn’t fine… It was pretty painful. Like, really painful!”
The boy’s screams were heard by a nearby group of lifeguards, who were in the midst of a training exercise and rushed over to help. He estimated the attack lasted three to four seconds.
The bite was treated by Dr. Francis Amador, who determined that Mariani thankfully wasn’t hurt too bad. Ultimately, he received flesh wounds and officials believe the bite came from a small shark, based on the puncture wounds.
“I guess the shark wasn’t that hungry after all,” Amador said. “He was looking for a snack.”
The hospital took to Twitter to share Mariani’s recovery update, along with a photo of the boy holding a stuffed shark.
Although Mariani said he hasn’t “experienced anything worse” in his life, he feels more lucky than unlucky. Recovery time will be long, but this shark tale won’t stop him, he said he’ll be back in the water when he’s given the OK to do so.
After 17 stitches, Mariani acknowledged that he will have a thrilling story to tell at school in a couple of weeks.