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Man Who Lost His Leg In Shark Attack 20 Years Ago Films Close Encounter With Great White

Man Who Lost His Leg In Shark Attack 20 Years Ago Films Close Encounter With Great White

A man who lost his leg in a shark attack when he was just 18 has shared shocking footage of an encounter with a Great White shark 20 years later.

Mike Coots was boogie boarding near Hawaii when a tiger shark grabbed him by his right-leg and managed to rip it clean off.

However, rather than spending his whole life avoiding sharks, Mike made the unusual decision to become a shark conservationist - and he now spends time diving with them predators across the world to raise awareness.


Most recently, he filmed this close-up encounter with a Great White at Steward Island, near New Zealand. Now, while you and I might look this and give a massive 'nope' - Mike said he was thrilled to be able to capture it.

Mike said: "When I filmed the footage this Great White was coming right up to me - literally millimetres away.

Credit: Caters
Credit: Caters

"It was literally like hanging with dinosaurs. It's one of the coolest things you can do on earth. You can just feel the vibe from this apex predator.


"Stewart Island is one of the only spots in the world where you can consistently dive with big whites, but it's still quite rare to see them this close.

"Filming them actually calms me down. As a photographer I was just focusing on getting the shot and capturing the movement."

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Mike, who was born in Hawaii but grew up in New Zealand, says his relationship with sharks changed the day he was attacked 20 years;

He says the shark latched on and began ragging him about 'like a piece of meat'. He says that during the attack his survival instincts kicked in and he started to hit the shark in its face until it released him.


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Mike, now 38, said: "I gave it a couple of good punches on the nose then got back on the board. My hand was bloody but I managed to start paddling back into shore. Then my right leg started spasming.

"I saw something to the side which I thought was the shark. I looked over and it was my severed leg, I was just spurting blood out of the missing limb."

Credit: Caters
Credit: Caters

He was rushed into hospital where he emergency surgery and was kept in for a week.


Despite the trauma, he was still brave enough to get back into the sea just three weeks after being mauled.

And he has since go on to campaign to save sharks and is an ambassador for the Pew Environment Group. He has even spoken at the United Nations on the subject of shark conservation.

He said: "It's been a really fun experience to use my unique situation to connect with other people who are passionate about the same thing as me.

"Sharks aren't just man-eaters, they are invaluable to the balance and health of our oceans."

Featured Image Credit: Caters

Topics: Great White, Inspirational, shark attack

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Claire Reid

Claire is a journalist at LADbible who, after dossing around for a few years, went to Liverpool John Moores University. She graduated with a degree in Journalism and a whole load of debt. When not writing words in exchange for money she is usually at home watching serial killer documentaries surrounded by cats. You can contact Claire at