2 surfers bitten by sharks in Volusia County

Sam Cumiskey was bitten by a shark. WESH TV photo

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) — Two surfers were bitten by sharks in Volusia County on Monday. One of the victims was an experienced surfer who used a leash as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding as he paddled to shore after being bitten by a bull shark.

The 25-year-old man is recovering from surgery. “I looked down and my foot was in the shark’s mouth,” Sam Cumiskey, one of the victims, said.

A large bull shark released Cumiskey’s right foot, giving him a chance to get away. Some said it was nothing short of a miracle, because four tendons on the top of Cumiskey’s foot were severed, and the Edgewater man suffered severe lacerations to the bottom of his foot.

“A sizable chunk was missing from my foot. Well, not missing, but filleted open,” Cumiskey said.

Cumiskey is a 10-year veteran of the waves. He typically favors going to the New Smyrna Beach side, but on Monday, he and his friends went to Ponce Inlet because the wind was better. “The one day I go, I get bitten by a shark,” Cumiskey said.

Cumiskey was in five feet of white water, riding his board without fins when, as he fell, he put his right foot down. “It kind of felt like kicking a wall really hard, is a good way to describe it. Or a wall kicked me. I knew what was going on. It was a big, gray bull shark biting my foot,” Cumiskey said.

Cumiskey said the shark was bigger than he was, at least six to six and a half feet long. There’s a tooth mark on Cumiskey’s foot that’s two inches wide. For a brief moment, Cumiskey was worried that the shark could win. “He definitely bit and shook one or two times, just like, very quickly,” Cumiskey said.

Cumiskey paddled in, using his leash as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Doctors reattached the tendons, but Cumiskey will be out of the water for at least two months. “All I want is to get better so I can go surf again,” Cumiskey said.

Cumiskey isn’t the first person in his family to be bitten by a shark. His older brother needed stitches a few years ago, but the injury wasn’t as severe.

The other shark bite victim Monday is a 37-year-old man who was bitten on the ankle while surfing near the New Smyrna Beach jetty. He was not transported to the hospital, but was going to have the injury looked at on his own.

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