A tourist swimming in waist-deep water off a beach in the eastern tip of Brazil had his arms and legs "ripped to shreds" in a shark attack that is getting international coverage due to graphic video posted on social media.
The attack happened off Piedade beach in Recife, Brazil, and cell phone video posted on Facebook shows Pablo Melo lying in shock on the beach, while passersby tend to deep cuts to both arms and legs.
Melo, 34, was rushed to a hospital and underwent four hours of surgery, resulting in his right leg being amputated, reported TV Jornal of Brazil.
Emergency crews were called to the popular tourist beach at 2:40 p.m. Sunday, media outlets report.
A witness, snack vendor Maria Lourenço, told the Standard Republic that people on the beach seemed to notice the shark before swimmers and they tried to warn tourists splashing in the surf.
“Someone started shouting 'shark, shark' because they said they had seen a shark 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,' she told the Standard Republic. "It was horrible to see."
Media outlets note signs in the area clearly warn of sharks roaming the waters.
Fire department Major Aldo Silva told Breaking News 2018 that Melo 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," Silva told Breaking News 2018. "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.”
Melo survived only because two men risked attack to chase the shark away, media outlets report. The two pulled Melo out of the water, and video shows he was conscious, but in shock. At one point, someone is seen trying to tie a tourniquet around his leg, while others hold cloth to his open wounds.
A crowd of others circles the group, many filming on their cell phones.
Melo was a tourist from the Rio Grande de norte community in Brazil and he was vacationing with his family, reported London's Daily Mail.
It's believed he was attacked by a bull shark or tiger shark, reported the New York Post.
The attack was the first of its kind on the area in three years, media outlets reported. However, those native to the area were not surprised.
"There are gazzilion signs saying 'if you get into the water a shark will likely bite and kill you'," noted a Facebook post by Marcelo De Barros who says he's a native of Recife.