Graphic: Man bitten in stomach by nurse shark, caught on camera

Posted at 10:25 PM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-27 22:25:53-04

CLAY COUNTY, FL (WJXT/CNN) - A Florida man is recovering after he was bitten by a shark that refused to let him go.

It's a day Ervin McCarty will never forget.

A video from a fishing boat showed a two to three-foot-long nurse shark on McCarty's stomach.

McCarty had been lobstering and spearfishing with family friends. He dove down about 12 feet to get a grouper they had speared.

"I turned to go back up for air and something hit me in the stomach. I didn't know if somebody kicked me or what, but whatever hit me was biting on to me," McCarty said.

He surfaced far away from the boat and there was a strong current. All the while he couldn't shake the shark off.

"I had to grab it by both hands, keep it from shaking and get up for air at the same time," McCarty said.

It tried to pull him underwater, and he said after about a 20-minute struggle he got on the boat.

"I was out of breath. It was wearing me out, took everything I had to keep it from shaking," McCarty said.

A friend stabbed the shark to get it off; It was their only option.

It took around 6 more minutes until the shark released, but the shark bit him a second time in another part of the stomach.

That time it released its bite a little easier.

McCarty got a checkup and a tetanus shot but said he will get back in the water.

"It hasn't changed a thing. I will continue to fish, I will continue to snorkel, just make sure there is not a nurse shark around," McCarty said.

Now he's got a scar and quite the fish story that has video to prove it.

A shark researcher with the University of North Florida said the grouper could have triggered the attack.

Across the world, there have only been about 100 documented nurse shark bites in the past century.

Copyright 2017 WJXT via CNN. All rights reserved.