A few days ago, we published a story based around the premise that Matt Meola had helped save a shark attack victim at Ho’oikpa Beach in Maui.
Armed only with a gory Instagram video by Matt and a rather ambiguous article from Maui News, we took it upon ourselves to marry the two pieces of evidence and assume that Matt played some role in the rescue of the unnamed victim. We were wrong.
Matt was quick to point out that he had no part in saving the man’s life — he was simply the guy who filmed the application of a secondary tourniquet. Not that Matt wouldn’t be inclined to help a person in need, but his assistance simply wasn’t necessary. There were already a number of heroic actors assisting injured man.
Through some digging, we came to discover that those involved in the encounter have an interesting story to tell. Like Federico Jaime, the 36-year-old shark attack victim who went out for a surf on the eve of his Tahitian honeymoon, one that he would inevitably have to reschedule. Or like Scott Trudon, the first man on the scene and leash-tourniquet engineer, who happened to witness Ho’okipa’s last shark attack, nearly 30 years prior. We’ve decided to let these men tell the story, because they were there, and because they deserve to be heard. We apologize if the original post made it seem any other way.
Scott Trudon, one of Fede’s fearless saviors and leash tourniquet connoisseur.
Scott Trudon, 56, …Lost sales rep., first responder:
“The water was a little murky from all the rain we’ve had recently.
“I was sitting in the lineup when I noticed this guy paddling to my left, but I continued gazing out toward the horizon. Then I heard an AGHGHHH! Not a normal scream, it was much more than that. I knew something was really wrong. Right when I looked at him I could see the shark had him by the forearm, but it didn’t do the typical bite and let go, rather it held on for a good 2-3 seconds. When it finally released, I started to head towards him. When I was about five feet away, I saw the shark was still there and recoiled out of fear of being bitten myself. The shark then took a quick stab at his leg and quickly disappeared.
“I asked if he could paddle and he was like ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah!’ I said, ‘OK, you gotta paddle. We gotta get you in.’ At this point there are 5 or 6 guys all around him, helping him get to the beach. Getting in was like an act of God, man. At Ho’okipa theres this little sandspit where you can get in and out, and if you miss it, it’s a really hard paddle to get back to it. We pretty much had one shot at it, and it just so happened that this little head-high wave came to us and delivered us to the perfect spot. I don’t know what we would have done if we missed the exit.
“Once we got him to the beach I ditched my board and ripped off my leash to make a tourniquet. I started to tie it around his elbow, right where I knew the artery was, and as soon as I got one crank on it, my buddy Luke, who is a local surfer and EMT, took charge of the situation. He cranked down on the leash and then we each held one end, because the leash wouldn’t tie. Once that was secure, Luke went to his car to get a proper tourniquet. Then I remembered [Federico’s] leg. He had a nasty cut there too, but it was overlooked because the arm was so bad. [Federico] had even forgotten he was bitten on the leg. When I told him, he was like, ‘What?!’. He was in complete shock at this point.
“It didn’t dawn on me until the ride home, but I was at this very spot during its last shark attack, some 27 years ago. I remember this guy kicked out of a wave and got hit right in the calf. It wasn’t that bad, he only had to get like 25 stitches, but it happened like three feet away from me! This strange coincidence is pretty unsettling.”
Federico Jaime, 36, online marketer, shark attack victim.
“I was going to go on a honeymoon the next day to Tahiti with my wife, but the waves were looking really fun so I decided to paddle out.”
Federico goes on to recount the same attack/rescue story as Scott. We resume the story at the hospital.
“When I arrived at the ER my wife was waiting for me, along with one of the best shark specialists in Maui. I had a three-hour surgery where they cleaned and mended all the contusions on my leg and arm. I have another surgery on Wednesday so they can repair the last bits, but I can already move all my fingers.
“My arm is still all wrapped, I haven’t seen it after the surgery, but the doctor says I’m expected to make a feel recovery. My leg is really, really good. I’m able to walk now.
“I don’t know when I’ll be able to surf again, but I want to surf very badly. I’m lucky how everything turned out, but I’d never think of quitting. I’m originally from Argentina, but I moved to Maui when I was 29 so I could surf good waves on a regular basis. I’ve got to continue with my life, and surfing is so important to me. It’s pretty much how I live on Maui. It would be impossible for me to stop.”