16-year-old narrowly escapes jaws of large shark

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Thursday, August 15, 2019
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A 16-year-old surfer narrowly escaped the jaws of a large shark.

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- A 16-year-old surfer narrowly escaped the jaws of a large shark.

Max Keliikipi went out for one last wave Sunday night in Honolulu, Hawaii. The sun was setting when he noticed a turtle swimming up next to him.

Except it wasn't a turtle. It was one of the ocean's greatest predators: a shark.

"It goes underneath the water, I put my feet on top of my board. I'm just sitting there, looking around for it," Keliikipi told KHON.

Then, suddenly, his life flashed before his eyes.

"Boom, it comes underneath me, bites my board," Keliikipi said. "It was literally, and I'm not exaggerating this at all, literally an inch or two in front of my feet."

The force of the bite threw Keliikipi into the water with the hungry shark.

"There is that fear factor. It was the fight or flight thing and for me it was just flight."

Keliikipi is a great swimmer. In fact, he's a junior lifeguard and those skills immediately kicked in.

"As soon as I hit the water, I just started swimming and I didn't really think about where the shark was. I just had to get in."

The teen said his close encounter taught him a lesson he won't forget anytime soon.

"Next time I'm just going to go in the daytime and with my friends, not surfing alone anymore."