A run-in with any one of the following: a rattlesnake, black bear or tiger shark, could easily be something most people don’t come out the other side of. But after being attacked by a tiger shark on Thursday while body boarding in Kauai, Dylan McWilliams has now survived incidents with all three of those predators.
The 20-year-old from Grand Junction, CO happened to be vacationing on the island of Kauai during the major flooding that happened two weeks ago. He ended up on the north shore helping affected residents clean up and move trees. But by Wednesday, he was itching to get out into the ocean.
What is it about Dylan McWilliams that draws dangerous predators with sharp teeth?https://t.co/CyuNtHkfpr
— Star-Advertiser (@StarAdvertiser) April 21, 2018
As the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports, the muddy brown waters leftover from the flooding and landslides caused a brown water advisory on the island. So on Thursday McWilliams headed south in search of clear water, to Shipwreck Beach in Poipu to get into the ocean. He headed out into the crystal blue, three-to-five-foot surf on his body board early in the morning.
It wasn’t long before he felt an excruciating pain in his right calf after being knocked off his board by a wave. He panicked at first, not knowing if he had lost his entire leg or not. He then saw a six-to-eight-foot tiger shark underneath him and gave it a good kick before a desperate swim to the beach.
“That was the scariest part,” McWilliams told the Star Advertiser. “I didn’t know where the shark was, and I didn’t know if he would come after me again.”
McWilliams reached the beach safely and was helped by a female bystander. She called the paramedics and then drove him to get seven stitches. It goes without saying, his injuries could have been much worse.
This is also the case for the two previous attacks by wildlife McWilliams has been the victim of. Last July, he received nine staples in his scalp after a 280-pound black bear bit into the back of his head and dragged him some 12 feet. McWilliams was sleeping outdoors with other staff members at a summer camp near Ward, CO and fought back punching and kicking the bear and even poking it in the eye. The other staff members came to his aid and chased the bear off.
Three-and-a-half years ago, McWilliams was bitten by a pygmy faded rattlesnake while hiking out of a canyon near Moab, UT. Luckily it was a dry bite with very little venom, only causing him to be ill for two days.
Ironically enough, McWilliams is currently employed as a survival training instructor -- which is probably a class any of us who spend outdoors should probably take. If there’s anyone who is made to teach a class like that at 20, it’s certainly McWilliams.
As he told the Star Advertiser, “I don’t know, I’m either really lucky or really unlucky.”
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