OAHU, HI -- A surfer who was attacked by a shark attack last week off Oahu's North Shore is recovering in the hospital after losing his leg and injuring his hands.
Colin Cook, 25, encountered a shark Friday morning, KHON reports, as he was waiting for a wave sitting on his surfboard. Moments later he spotted a school of fish leap from the water. That's when family members said the shark attacked him from underneath as his legs were dangling in the water.
Doctors had to amputate most of his Cook's leg. His hands were also injured when he punched the shark before it swam away.
“I didn't know whether he was going to live or die,” said Glenn Cook, Colin’s father. “Five minutes later, he called me from the hospital, and said, ‘Dad, don't worry about me, just get over here.’"
Chris Webster, the victim's cousin, said Colin’s leg looks “phenomenal” and shows no sign of infection. He also said his cousin is missing the top of his middle finger and has about 300 stitches throughout his hand.
Victim moved to follow his dreams
Cook moved to Hawaii from Newport, Rhode Island three years ago to follow his dreams. That's when he learned to create custom surfboards from famed North Shore shaper John Carper, according to KGMB. He then opened his own fiberglass business -- about six months ago.
"We taught him how to make surfboards and we ended up semi-adopting him for a long time," said John Carper with JC Hawaii Surfboards. "He was part of our family for several years."
Carper lives right in front of Leftovers Beach Park, and he ran down as soon as he heard that about the shark bite.
"There was a real capable group of surfers that came in and I really want to say that these guys did a - without them, Colin wouldn't have made it," he said. "There's no question about that he wouldn't have made it. It's kind of heavy, man."
The pair had a moment to see each other at the Queen's Medical Center before Cook went into surgeries -- for his injured leg and fingers.
Webster stressed that his cousin was in good spirits when he arrived at the hospital.
"I got there and I'm all, 'What's up? I heard you were fighting with a shark?'" Webster said. "And he started laughing and smiling and he said, 'Yeah, I got a couple good cracks on him.' So he was in good spirits. Then he asked, he was still a little worried, he asked, 'Am I going to die?'"