In this frame from video provided by Braxton Rocha, Rocha films himself after being bit by a large tiger shark off the coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, Sept. 20, 2015
Braxton Rocha—AP
September 24, 2015 10:49 AM EDT

A Hawaiian fisherman fought off a shark by punching it in the nose.

Braxton Rocha, 27, told the Associated Press Wednesday that a tiger shark clamped down on his leg while he was spearfishing about 60 yards off the Big Island last weekend.

“She was jaws wide open, right in front of my face,” he said of encountering the shark. “Once she locked on my leg … I cocked back, I punched her in the nose. She let go and she swam away.”

Rocha was able to swim to shore, although he was bleeding profusely.

“I started making some strokes in after I punched her and that’s when the blood just started gushing everywhere in the water, and I was like, this is not good,” he said. “I started getting scared because I thought she was going to come back in for more.”

Rocha’s friend drove him into town to call an ambulance, and he was airlifted to a hospital. Doctors say that Rocha will make a full recovery after the wounds in his leg heal. He needed three hours of surgery and 100 staples.


Write to Tessa Berenson at

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