GLENDALE, Calif. (FOX 11) - The Glendale woman bit by a shark while vacationing in Hawaii is back on her feet — literally.
Proudly wearing a t-shirt gift from her brother that reads, “I survived a shark attack”, Kim Bishop laughs over what happened two weeks ago while spending time in Hawaii.
She and her husband, also named Kim, were on Anaeho’omalu Bay on The Big Island. She on her kayak about 300 feet from the shore. Her husband nearby on his paddle board.
“It was a beautiful morning, the water was smooth, you could see all the way to the bottom it was just really clear,” Bishop said.
What was also clear, a shark bumped her kayak, flipped it over and knocked her into the water.
“I mean it was like a truck hit my kayak,” she told Fox 11 reporter, Leah Uko. “I started yelling ‘shark! It’s a shark! Then it bit my leg right away.”
It also bit her kayak. At that moment, Bishop realized the only way she could pull herself back up onto the kayak was to toss her cell phone so she could have two free hands.
“So she goes into the water and I immediately got down on my knees and I started paddling. The adrenaline took over, instincts took over, it was frightening but you just start reacting to the situation and do what you can to take care of it,” he continued. “When I saw those fins I realized we’re in a real serious situation.”
Serious it was. The shark bit Bishop’s right thigh, knee, and calf.
Fortunately, a canoe team was nearby and helped carry Kim to paramedics who airlifted her to the hospital while her husband drove himself to meet her there. Kim remained conscious and coherent the entire ride.
“It looked pretty bad at that point. But honestly as soon as there were people around me taking care of me, I was just kind of relieved and it’s like ‘okay they’ve got me’,” Bishop said.
Mr. Bishop repeated one phrase as he drove.
“It was about a 25-minute drive to the hospital and you just, ‘I hope this is okay. I hope this is okay’,” he said.
It was. Surgery lasted an hour and a half. Kim was able to walk and hang on the beach the next day and still has not taken any painkillers.
“I feel like I’m pretty much on the mend, except I’ll have a really interesting scar to tell a story about,” she said.
Doctors kept her on IV for four days to prevent any infection and were concerned about blood clots.
“We think the tooth of the shark ripped this portion so they kind of had to layer it. It’s still totally numb right there,” said Bishop.
Once it fully recovers, she and her husband, who have been married for 35 years and both got engaged and arrived on The Big Island, said they had plans to go back.
“This not my first brush with the possibility of death and when your day comes, it comes. And it wasn’t my day,” Bishop said.
For them, nothing has changed. Their watchful eye for sharks, their love for one another and their sense of humor.
“If you want to know if your spouse or your loved one really loves you, here’s how you test it, throw yourself in the ocean and start yelling ‘shark! It’s a shark and see which way they swim.”
As to what kind of shark bit Kim, her husband did a lot of research and judging by its aggressive nature and bite marks — he thinks it was a tiger shark.