MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The 25-year-old boogie boarder bitten by a shark Saturday is telling his story exclusively to WMBF News.
Beach Patrol Sgt. Philip Cain said an unspecified type of shark bit 25-year-old Ryan Orellana-Maczynski on the foot near the 2nd Avenue Pier Saturday evening around 7:45 p.m.
Monday Orellana-Maczynski shared his story only with WMBF News reporter Evan Lambert. Orellana-Maczynski says he was visiting the Grand Strand from outside of Chicago.
He was boogie boarding when he felt something tug at his foot, which was dangling in the water.
"I was sitting on the waves so my feet were dangling and I felt something tug my foot. It was not forceful by any means, but I just felt something there," he said.
After wrestling with the shark for at least 30 seconds Orellana-Maczynski says he took a chance to get the shark to let go, jabbing the animal in the eyes. The shark finally released its grip.
A 2nd Avenue Pier employee provided a photo to WMBF News of the wound. Witnesses on the beach told our WMBF News crew that when the male victim was coming out of the water, the shark was still attached to his foot.
Paul Nalepa works at the Second Avenue Pier Tackle Shop just feet away from where the attack happened. Nalepa stated, "We seen the police down there and the lifeguards and all that and we heard a guy got attacked by a shark."
Nalepa added, "Sharks don't really bother people too much unless there is the bait that is in the water and when the bait is swimming around you that's when the sharks usually come closer."
Sgt. Cain said the attack happened at dusk which is a more dangerous place to swim near the pier because that is where sharks come to feed.
Grand Strand visitor Cindy Campbell said she avoids swimming in the ocean during the morning hours and at dusk. Campbell said, "I would never go in the water at night when it gets dark. And I would never go in the morning before it got daylight so you could see. But I think the lifeguards out here do a really great job...if they have shark sightings they get the people out of the water."
Sgt. Cain said officers along with lifeguards do what they can to keep a watchful eye on the ocean. Officers said when people are in the water it is important to look out for schools of fish because that is where sharks like to feed.
Nalepa added, "If you ever get a cut and you start bleeding you need to stay out of the water too because sharks can smell blood miles and miles away."
Parents said they stay proactive to keep their families safe in the water. Latoya Brown said, "We actually don't go that far out. We watch them, we stand beside them and watch them as they are out there playing in the water and having fun. We just make sure we're beside them every minute."
Sgt. Cain said Orellana-Maczynski had surgery on his foot and is expected to make a full recovery.
Orellana-Maczynski says he may need further surgeries, but he's glad to be alive.
"I feel like I could be out in the ocean dead. That shark was strong. I was fighting it and I'm still sore from fighting it to be honest," he said.