East Hawaii News

Shark Bite Victim Optomistic Via Social Media

September 23, 2015, 5:13 PM HST
* Updated September 23, 5:14 PM
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Braxton Rocha was bit by a shark Sunday at Upolu Point, but despite his severely wounded leg, he posted a video on Instagram documenting the initial moments before being airlifted to North Hawai’i Community Hospital. That video went viral.

Before posting the video, however, Rocha told the Associated Press that he attempted to call his mother, but the call failed, so he posted a video instead.

The 27-year-old Kapa’au man explained to the AP in a bedside interview that he swam about 60 yards to the shore after being bitten. Rocha said he punched the shark in the nose to escape and that he feared for his life with worry that the shark would attack him again as he attempted to get out of the water.

Rocha was reportedly spear-fishing when a 13-foot Tiger shark bit him but was able to get the assistance of his fishing companion once he reached the shore. He began his trek to the hospital via private vehicle, according to the Hawai’i County Fire Department, before being intercepted at the 21 mile marker on Akoni Pule Highway by an ambulance that took him to Kamehameha Park to be airlifted.

On Sunday night, Rocha’s mother took to social media to say that he son received a “good prognosis” from the doctor.

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Since then, Rocha has made a number of posts to his own social media accounts.

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“I just want to personally thank everyone out there for their kind and loving words and all of the prayers sent my way,” Rocha wrote. “Can’t express my gratitude and love for you all.

“This kanaka ain’t getting taken out that easily! Can’t wait to get back into the water and provide for my family again… no matter what I’ll always love sharks and have so much respect for the top predator in the ocean.”

A GoFundMe page was set up by Rocha’s family, who noted on the page that he does not have medical insurance.

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“Braxton does not have medical insurance at this time, so any help that you may be willing to extend to him and his family would be greatly appreciated. We thank you for any prayers and donations that you have given to the family during this difficult time,” the page says.

As of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, the page had raised $7,829 of its $30,000 goal.

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