‘Like I got hit by an F-150′: Spearfisherman recounts being bitten by shark in Florida Keys

MARATHON, Fla. – The Monroe County Sheriff’s office released bodycam footage Friday after responding to a man who was bitten in the leg by a shark in Marathon.

Deputies say 20-year-old Kevin Blanco was out spearfishing with friends offshore Thursday when he was attacked 70 feet underwater.

Blanco spoke with Local 10 News who said that he felt excruciating pain after being bitten.

“It felt like I got hit by an F-150,” he said.

Video showed first responders putting Blanco on a stretcher before transporting him to Jackson South Medical Center.


Local 10 News obtained the 911 call that was made by one of Blanco’s friends the moment he was bit.

911: “What’s the address of your emergency?”

Caller: “Hi, hi. Shark attack, shark attack outside of Marathon.”

Caller: “We need an air rescue, please, it’s really bad. Please, as fast as you can, he’s bleeding really bad.”

911: Ok, give me, give me one second sir, I’m going to dispatch the ambulance.

Caller: “Please, a helicopter, please we need an airlift, please.”

911: “Where’s he bleeding from?”

Caller: “He’s bleeding from his thigh, it’s a really big gash.”

“It was a situation that could have turned very very bad,” said Omar Blanco, Kevin’s father.

Friends of Blanco told Local 10 News that they rushed him by boat to the docks at Sunset Grille, a restaurant in Marathon, where MCSO deputies and Marathon Fire Rescue converged at the scene.

“I saw the shark bite down on his leg (and) went into survival mode to help my friend,” said Danny Maduro, Blanco’s friend.

The Seven Mile bridge was temporarily shut down for a chopper to take Blanco to the hospital.

Blanco is now healing and surrounded by loved ones at Jackson South Medical Center, where even a deputy paid him a visit.

He says he might have some trouble deleting the moment from his memory.

“The image of that shark underwater, it’s still tough to shake. I see it every time I close my eyes--no joke,” he said.

Blanco’s doctors said that his injury looks a lot worse than it actually is and he is expected to make a full recovery.

About the Authors:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.

Ryan Mackey is our newest digital journalist at WPLG. He is New York born and South Florida raised.