MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a shark-fishing kayaker is lucky to be alive after a wave threw him into the Atlantic Ocean off central Florida.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says Stamatis Stomouli of Rockledge had just reeled in a shark Wednesday off Brevard County when a wave knocked him overboard.
Stomouli told authorities that he had hooked 6- to 7-foot blacktip shark that fought him for 40 minutes before he could get close enough to gaff it. He says the wave knocked him overboard as he leaned forward to adjust the gaff.
The shark swam away. Stomouli was tossed into the rocky jetties near the Sebastian Inlet.
Wildlife officers say Stomouli's life preserver kept him afloat as good Samaritans struggled to pull him from the water.