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Fighting off a shark--and winning; teen loses leg in attack but is training for triathlon

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PANAMA CITY, Florida -- Last summer 16-year-old Craig Hutto was walking in the warm waters off Panama City, Fla. The budding basketball star at his small-town Tennessee high school was happily fishing off a sandbar with his older brother — unaware of the danger heading his way.

With his parents watching from the beach, Hutto was pulled underwater by a bull shark and brutally attacked. Thanks to his and his brother's courage in fighting off the shark and some unlikely angels who helped him immediately after the attack, Hutto survived — though his right leg had to be amputated.

From his battle against the shark to his remarkable recovery, the teenager has proved himself a worthy adversary for the mysterious creature who continues to astonish experts and terrify swimmers.

Like a Scene Out of 'Jaws'

Craig Hutto and his older brother, Brian, were fishing in murky waters on June 27. Sharks like the camouflage — they don't need to see, because from one mile away, they can hear a fish tail flapping. Also from a mile away, they can smell just a few molecules of blood — less than a drop of sweat.

Craig felt something bump his leg.

"It was just something hard, like somebody just punched you," he said. "It bumped me on my left leg, and when it did I … I kind of jumped back and I said, 'What was that?' And then that was when it grabbed on my right leg."

Watching from the beach, his parents were horrified. "It was exactly like that scene out of 'Jaws,'" said his mother, Louann Hutto. "It took &jerked him under, he went straight under, and then his head shot back up and he just shot across the water."

Craig started screaming for help. His 25-year-old brother Brian, just 10 feet away, swam frantically toward him.

"I saw the tail as it rolled him under," Brian said. "And I can remember yelling 'Shark!' a couple times and I grabbed hold."

What happened next was a prodigious battle — two brothers against the massive strength and iron jaws of a six-to-eight-foot shark. Brian pounded the water and cried out, "Call 911!"


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