A SURFER has shared the chilling details of a horror shark attack that he is tortured with via recurring nightmares.
The water surrounding Matt Picarelli quickly began to turn red as blood started to gush from his body after he was savaged in Florida.
He had been body surfing in the ocean off Pepper Park Beach in Fort Pierce on the morning of March 12 before he was ambushed by the beast.
After a brief break from the waves, he had re-entered the water at around 11.40am when he suddenly felt pain in his right foot.
A ferocious spinner shark – which can grow up to nearly 10ft – had taken a chunk out of him.
The surfer terrifyingly caught a glance of its huge fin and tail as the creature appeared to perform its feeding strategy.
Spinner sharks get their name from this unusual characteristic, which sees them rotate through schools of fish, snapping them up, and often leaping into the air.
Although they aren’t considered dangerous to humans, they have been responsible for numerous unprovoked attacks.
Matt, 36, was left in agony as the beast brutally tore through his flesh – which he described as like “a car hitting me with a machete blade at the end of it.”
He said: “It’s just the power that it went at me. And it just squeezed on my foot like a vice grip.”
The experienced surfer said the shark kept its jaw clamped on him for less than a minute before it finally released its grip.
“It was a big animal, and it took a chomp out of my foot,” he said. “And it immediately left.”
His horrified pals helped him out of the water and onto the beach – while desperately trying not to attract the shark towards them.
Matt recalled: “It was bleeding everywhere.
“So, I had a bunch of strangers helping me out, giving me water and putting pressure on the wound.”
He said beachgoers believed he was targeted by a spinner shark that spanned up to 5ft in length.
Matt was rushed to HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital, where medics warned him he would have lost all his toes if the bite was just a few inches lower.
The attack broke one of his tendons and chipped a bone in his foot, which forced him to undergo a surgery.
Doctors had to sew a whopping 50 stitches to mend his gory wound.
Matt told KFVS12: “It didn’t look good.”
Despite eventually being discharged on Wednesday with antibiotics, Matt now faces a grueling recovery that he fears will “take many months.”
He explained he will have to wear a non-weight-bearing boot on his mangled foot for up to six weeks.
But even as his physical wounds heal, the surfer faces a mental battle to overcome the trauma of the incident.
Matt said the ordeal keeps replaying in his mind on repeat – forcing him to go relive the chilling moment again and again.
He said: “I’ve been having nightmares about it with sharks coming towards me and biting me, attacking me.”
However, the surfer bravely vowed to return to riding the waves, except he will now be extra cautious.
“I’ve surfed my entire life. I love the ocean. So, I don’t see myself not going back in after this,” Matt said.
He has launched a GoFundMe to raise cash for his medical expenses, which has already acquired over $1,000.