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Fisherman's leg mangled by multiple bites in shark attack

Posted at 6:36 AM, Nov 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-27 06:36:46-05

MONTEREY COUNTY, CA (KSBW/CNN) – A California man who was spearfishing with his father survived an attack by a great white shark, thanks in part to the actions of two off-duty deputies.

Grigor Azatian and his father Armen were spearfishing Friday afternoon at Pebble Beach in Monterey County, CA, when Grigor was attacked by a shark.

"He jumped to the boat, grabbed his spear gun, went down and saw the shark, a great white. From his description, it was about 15’ long,” Armen Azatian said.

The victim’s father says the shark bit his son multiple times, but Grigor Azatian somehow managed to get free and swim to the boat. His right leg was severely damaged.

"In that moment, it was just shock for me. It was a horrifying scene. My thought was just to try and help him to stop the bleeding,” Armen Azatian said.

In a moment that would send many into shock, Armen Azatian says his son was amazingly calm under pressure.

"I don't know, to be honest, it was so difficult for me to even imagine. The scale of the damage, if they would see that, I would say a lot of people they would just faint,” Armen Azatian said.

Once the two returned to shore, two off-duty sheriff’s deputies assisted with Grigor Azatian’s wounds. One deputy, who was trained in emergency field medicine, applied a tourniquet to the man’s leg, stopping further blood loss.

"They were in the right place at the right time,” a law enforcement officer said.

Grigor Azatian was rushed by ambulance to a nearby medical center where doctors stabilized him. They believe he’ll make a full recovery.

"It was probably the longest waiting time of my life,” Armen Azatian said. "Big artery – I talked to the surgeon – is not damaged. Big nerves are not damaged, but there's massive damage to the muscle. So, it's going to be a long recovery."

Copyright 2017 KSBW, Monterey County, Azatian Family via CNN. All rights reserved.