DailyMail A beach-goer has lost his leg after being attacked by a shark while swimming off the coast of Brazil. Pablo de Melo suffered horrific injuries at Piedade Beach in Recife on Sunday and needed to have one of his legs amputated as doctors battled to save his life. The shark ripped into Pablo’s arms and legs as he swam through surf – in an area known for frequent shark attacks. It’s believed the 34-year-old survived the attack because two men, who were in the water nearby, risked their own lives by bravely chasing off the beast and hauling the severely injured man out of the water. A team of lifeguards and fire officers carried out first aid before airlifting the victim to Restoration Hospital where he was rushed by a trauma team into surgery. Doctors reported the tourist, who was vacationing with his family in the holiday resort, underwent a four-hour life-saving operation. A Pernambuco health department spokesperson said: ‘Surgeons were unable to save the patient’s right leg due to the severity of the wounds. They diverted arteries and veins through revascularisation surgery to the injured areas in his upper and lower arms and restored blood supply. He has been transferred to intensive care on life-support and remains in a serious condition.’ According to fire department Major Aldo Silva, the victim was not in deep water when he was attacked. ‘Mr Melo was swimming near the surf line, which would have been a least waist deep if he stood up, when he was bitten several times by the shark,’ he explained. ‘He was probably bitten first on his legs then when he tried to defend himself, the shark reacted to his frantic movements and latched onto his arms.’ The area where the holidaymaker was swimming is marked by warning signs signalling the dangers of attacks. It’s believed the species responsible could be either a bull shark or tiger shark, both are known to prowl close to the water’s edge. Lifeguard Wellington Miranda said: ‘The victim was conscious when he was rescued. He was in a state of shock, in lot of pain and had suffered severe lacerations to his arms and deep wounds to his legs. ‘We managed to stem the bleeding and stabilise his vital signs before flying him by helicopter to hospital.’ A shocking video shows the blood-soaked victim, with chunks bitten out of his legs and arms, lying on the beach while rescuers tie tourniquets around his thighs and upper arms to stop the bleeding. Maria Lourenço, 57, a beach snack seller, witnessed the moment of the attack. She said: ‘Someone started shouting “Shark, shark!” because they said they had seen a fin. They tried to alert people in the water and particularly this man, who was near where the shark appeared. But he didn’t have time to get out of the water before he was attacked many times. ‘I’ve been working on this beach for 25 years and during this time I have witnessed a number of ferocious attacks. It was horrible to see. Each time it is very frightening and sad.’
I have seen documentaries about Recife, Brazil, which has become one of the most dangerous beaches in the world, due to the large number of shark attacks over recent years. The documentary concluded that a fish processing plant was built inland and upriver in a river that flows into the ocean near Recife, which dumps fish blood and guts into the water, which flows into the ocean and attracts large populations of dangerous sharks to the area. In Recife, the situation has turned a beach which was once regarded as relatively safe, into one of the most dangerous beaches on earth. Based on footage taken from the air shortly after the attack, the shark involved is believed to be a large tiger shark, which grabbed tourist Pablo de Melo by the leg as he waded in shallow water. As you can see by the picture above, the shark attack did serious damage to Pablo de Melo, and while he should survive the severe injuries forced doctors to amputate Pablo de Melo’s leg. If you are in Recife, stay out of even shallow water, the water is teeming with dangerous sharks and is safe even near shore.
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