Nick Arthur was jumping over waves on a sandbar about 25 feet offshore when he started screaming, his father told CNN.
“At first I thought he was screaming out of joy, and then I looked at him and saw the shark,” Tim Arthur said.
The shark had its teeth around Nick’s thigh and was not letting go, Arthur said.
“He was screaming ‘Get it off me. Let me go’ and I jumped into action,” Arthur said.
Arthur said his daughter swam to shore while he and his son fought the shark. Arthur said he kicked the shark near its nose while Nick was hitting him with his hand. The shark let go of Nick’s thigh as it tried to nip at his hand, allowing Nick to swim free.
The attack occurred in the ocean near Vehicle Ramp 25, about 2½ miles south of the village of Salvo, according to the National Park Service.
The Arthur family were visiting Cape Hatteras National Seashore from their home in Oak Ridge, North Carolina, near Winston-Salem.
Nick was taken to a hospital in nearby Nags Head where he was treated for his injuries, according to the National Park Service. He ended up with roughly 40 teeth prints on his thigh and received 17 stitches, his father said. He had to get stitches on his thumb and has teeth scrapes on his hand.
Though bruised and sore, Arthur said his son is good spirits and luckily, there seems to be no permanent damage. He said the incident hasn’t soured the family on swimming at the beach, but added they probably won’t go out as far in the future.
“You always think it’s not going to be you,” Arthur said.