Dylan McWilliams is a true survivor in the most literal use of the word. The 20-year old from Colorado survived a shark attack earlier this week while vacationing in Hawaii, just months after walking away from a physical encounter with a wild bear.
McWilliams was bodyboarding near a beach in Kauai on Thursday when he felt the bite of what he believes was a tiger shark at least six feet in length. Unaware of how much damage the shark did or even if his leg was still attached, he started paddling back to the shore, which at the time of the attack was about 50 yards away.
“I was looking around and saw a bunch of blood,” McWilliams recalls. “I didn’t know where the shark was, and I didn’t know if he would come after me again.”
Fortunately, he made it back to the shore, where bystanders helped to get him to a hospital. McWilliams had suffered deep cuts on his leg but nothing that was life-threatening. Afterward, he said the worst part was having to take a couple days off from going in the water.
But this was not the first time McWilliams faced mortal danger from a wild animal. In July, he was camping with a group of fiends in Colorado when he had a run-in with a 300-pound black bear that charged at him.
“The bear grabbed the back of my head and started pulling me and I was fighting back as best as I could,” McWilliams recalls. “It dropped me and stomped on me a little bit, and I was able to get back to the group and they scared it away.”
In that attack, McWilliams suffered injuries to his scalp, which doctors needed to staple back
together. Somehow he recovered quickly and returned to the wood soon after the attack.
McWilliams knows that he’s lucky to have survived both attacks, but neither event seems to have deterred the young man who often works as a wildlife survival instructor from continuing his adventures in the great outdoors.
“My parents are grateful I’m still alive,” says McWilliams. “I’m either really lucky or really unlucky.”