Hawaii Shark Attack Victim Credits Friend With Saving His Life

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By Henry Austin and Associated Press

A Hawaiian spear fisherman attacked by a large tiger shark escaped by punching the creature in the nose and credits his best friend with saving his life.

Braxton Rocha was swimming in an underwater cave off the Big Island on Sunday when came face to face with the creature.

In this Sept. 20 2015 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.Braxton Rocha via AP

"She was jaws wide open, right in front of my face," the 27-year-old told the Associated Press. “It went from calm to panic real fast.”

He said he tried to control the shark by putting his hands on its nose but was overpowered and the shark clamped down on his leg.

"I cocked back, I punched her in the nose," he said. "She let go and she swam away."

Rocha managed to swim the 60 yards back to shore — where his best friend Shannon Pasco applied a turniquet and loaded him into his truck.

“I just need to let my best friend know that I love him,” Braxton Rocha said of Shannon Pasco Wednesday. “He got my back and saved my life.”