A 42-year-old Delaware man vacationing with family and friends in Myrtle Beach was bitten by a shark Tuesday afternoon while kicking the animal away from his 8-year-old son.
"It's like getting hit with two sledgehammers at the same time on your foot," Jeff Schott exclusively told NBC10 after returning from South Carolina. "It doesn't feel real good, that's for sure."
The North Wilmington man said the beach near 11th Avenue was mostly empty when he and his son Brendon went waist-deep into the surf around 3:15 p.m.
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Schott was in the water for about 30 minutes when he spotted something off in the distance.
"I thought I was seeing things," said Schott.
But he quickly realized it was a shark — he estimates it was about 4 to 5 feet long — and it was headed toward his son.
"I kind of just jumped at the shark... I don't know what I was thinking but I gave him one of those Bruce Lee sidekicks," Schott described. "I don't know if I got my foot kind of just in the way of [the shark's] mouth or if he grabbed it on purpose."
His son began striking the shark as it latched onto Schott's foot and toe.
"I got some tears and some thrash marks where he just kind of grabbed me and pulled me around a little bit," said Schott.
John Williford of Roxboro, North Carolina, said he and a nearby lifeguard helped Schott as he ran out of the water.
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"I heard the guy yell and I saw him hopping a little bit as he came out of the water and I thought maybe had got stung by a jellyfish... or just stubbed his toe or something, but then I saw blood rushing," said Williford.
The whole incident lasted only moments.
"It was like three seconds from start to finish," said Schott. "You're just kind of reacting."
He joked that the shark "probably doesn't just like the taste of redheads and let me go."
North Myrtle Beach city spokesman Pat Dowling said Schott suffered puncture wounds on his foot.
"I think it's a freak thing; the tide was really strong yesterday," said Schott, explaining that the current could pull a swimmer hundreds of feet in just minutes.
A piece of shark tooth remains embedded in his big toe. Schott, who is on crutches while he waits for his foot to heal, said doctors are waiting for the wounds to drain before removing the tooth.
In the meantime, Scott, who is in law school, planned to return to Delaware for a class Wednesday before heading back to South Carolina for the rest of his vacation.
"I'm not looking forward for the walk from the tarmac," he joked.
Schott said he is grateful the shark bit him instead of a child — and that he'll likely venture back into the water.
"I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, I'll probably go in again in the future," Schott said. "I probably wouldn't let [my kids] back in much above calf level."