When a two-metre bull shark attacked surfer Rodolphe Arriéguy on the western side of Réunion Island, the water was calm and glassy.
Erwann Lagabrielle, one of his mates, was nearby with two other surfers when he noticed the commotion.
At 2 p.m. on July 22, 2015, an assault occurred at Saint-Leu, one of the island’s best surfing spots.
Dr. Lagabrielle told 9news.com.au that (Rodolphe) was struck by a shark 20 metres in front of him.
“It was like something out of a horror movie.”
Dr. Lagabrielle, a senior lecturer in geography at the University of La Réunion, swam towards his friend against all odds, not knowing what he might discover.
“The water started out as white foam, then turned pink, and then red,” he said.
“The most terrifying thing was swimming against my own instincts to get to my mate.”
Mr Arriéguy’s arm had serious lacerations, so Dr Lagabrielle used his surfboard leash to make a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
“The shark swam away, and I knew there would be no re-attack in most situations,” Dr. Lagabrielle said.
“As soon as the bleeding stopped, I knew he’d make it.”
Mr. Arriéguy was rushed to the hospital after the pair finished the long swim back to shore.
The 45-year-old had his arm amputated, but he was still alive.
Hundreds of attacks have occurred on the Indian Ocean island over the years.