An Australian surfer is speaking out after he says he was attacked by a shark in an incident that felt like "being hit by a truck."
The male victim — whose identity was not released — told a local newspaper, The Advertiser, that he was lucky to be alive following Sunday's incident at D'Estrees Bay, which is located off the south coast of Kangaroo Island and is approximately 40 minutes away from the town of Kingscote.
"I'm feeling incredibly lucky and grateful, and I'm optimistic I'll make a full recovery," the 29-year-old wrote in a handwritten letter from his hospital bed, which was shared by The Advertiser reporter Patrick James on Twitter.
The victim said the incident started off as a "normal day's surfing" and that he was sitting on his surfboard "when I felt a hit on my left side – it was like being hit by a truck."
"It bit me around my back, buttock and elbow, and took a chunk out of my board," the surfer recalled in his note. "I got a glimpse of the shark as it let go and disappeared."
Following the scary encounter, the man said he was able to paddle into the beach before getting help from another surfer who was preparing to go out into the water.
The Advertiser reported that he had to walk 300 meters (984.2 feet) in order to find the surfer, who ultimately drove him to Kingscote, where they were met halfway by an ambulance.
Michael Rushby, a paramedic who treated the man on the side of the road and then rushed him to Kingscote Hospital, told the newspaper that his injuries were "serious" and "catastrophic."
He also noted how impressed he was that the victim was able to swim and walk as far as he did in order to seek help.
"With the extent of his injuries, this was quite remarkable and very lucky that he was able to do that," Rushby told The Advertiser. "[He was] very brave considering the serious nature of his injuries. It's amazing what people can do."
According to Rushby, the man was treated for catastrophic bleeding, trauma and serious cuts, and was later airlifted to Flinders Medical Centre.
While receiving medical attention for his injuries, the man wrote his letter to the outlet and expressed his gratitude for all those who played a role in his survival.
"I want to thank all those involved in getting me to the hospital, the awesome emergency services and medical staff, and my family and friends for all their love and support," he wrote in the note.
In the wake of the incident, D'Estrees Bay beach was closed, according to The Advertiser. The public has since been urged to avoid the area, the outlet reported.
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