College student helps save own leg after near-deadly shark attack, hopes to become doctor

Bodycam footage captures EMTs attending to Kevin Blanco's severe puncture wounds

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Monday, May 22, 2023
College student helps save own leg after near-deadly shark attack
Kevin Blanco helped save his own leg after a near-deadly shark attack in Marathon, Florida.

MARATHON, Fla. -- The survivor of a shark attack spoke out from his hospital bed on Sunday and recounted the moments when the predator came right at him with jaws wide open.

Kevin Blanco was spearfishing with his friends off the coast of Marathon, Florida when a shark latched onto his leg.

"It felt like I got hit by an F-150," Blanco said.

Monroe County body camera footage, obtained by WPLG, shows Blanco on a stretcher with EMTs attending to severe puncture wounds.

Blanco, an aspiring doctor, helped to save his own leg.

"I got on the boat, took off my weight belt, tied it across my- on my leg as the tourniquet," Blanco said.

This new attack comes one week after 13-year-old Ella Reed was attacked while sitting in shallow water in Fort Pierce, Florida.

"I looked down and saw it biting my stomach, and that's when I freaked out and did everything I could to get it off of me," Reed said.

There was another recent frightening encounter off the coast of Hawaii, when a tiger shark attacked a kayaker.

While the risk of a shark attack is low, these traumatic encounters stay with the victims long after they are rescued.

"When I go to sleep, I think of the shark. Just, I still see his great figure next to me every time," Blanco said.

Despite this, Blanco said he doesn't want this to keep him from doing what he loves.

"I'm glad I'm safe, and I hope I can get back on the water as quickly as possible," Blanco said.