Dad Of Italian Student Says Brave Son Still Feels Invisible Pain In Missing Leg

The father of a 20-year-old Italian student who was attacked by a shark in Australia says that his “brave” son still feels an invisible pain in his phantom missing limb.

Matteo Mariotti, from Parma, filmed himself fighting off the 20-foot shark in Australia in an attack that cost him a leg.

The disturbing video shows him wrestling with the apex predator after he was attacked while snorkelling in Queensland, in north-western Australia.

The young man can be seen wrestling for what seems like an eternity before he manages to make his way back to shore in a pool of blood, with one of his legs missing.

And now his dad, not named, has said that he is now at the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute in Bologna, Italy, where he is expected to undergo his fourth operation.

Matteo Mariotti poses in undated photo. He was attacked by a shark in Australia. (@matteo_mariotti__/CEN)

His dad said: “He is very saddened but he knows well that he was really lucky.

“He didn’t sleep last night, we flew together all night. His pain is a phantom pain, in amputations it is quite common, but very painful. He feels pain in the foot that he no longer has.”

He added: “He knows well that he was lucky, in his misfortune: he jumped out of the shark’s mouth. Then he was awake, in the sense that he didn’t panic, he faced the situation in cold blood. They were all good: him, the boys and girls who were with him.

Italian Adventurer, 20, Loses Leg While Fighting Off 20ft Shark

“At the Brisbane hospital, they saved him: he had lost a lot of blood, he arrived there in very poor condition. While in the water, he turned on the camera lucidly because he thought he was dying and wanted to say goodbye. Instead, he was saved.”

Matteo had shared the footage of the attack online himself, saying he started recording after the shark had grabbed hold of his leg with its jaws, thinking he was filming his last moments.

The young man, who is currently recovering in hospital after having what remained of his lower left leg amputated below the knee. Is quoted in Italian media saying: “I started this video a few moments after the last bite, I wanted to say goodbye, I never thought I’d survive that monster.”

Matteo Mariotti poses in undated photo. Attacked by a shark in Australia. (@matteo_mariotti__/CEN)

Matteo, who is passionate about marine biology, explained: “I needed to relax and I thought I’d take a swim not far from the shore.

“I put on the mask with the snorkel but I certainly wouldn’t have gone far. I also took a small camera to film the fish, as I always do. But after a few steps in the water, I felt a terrible pang in my foot.”

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Matteo, who was in Australia for a year of work experience before starting university, had barely got into the water when he was attacked by the shark. Which approached him from behind.

The shark measured up to 6 metres (19.6 feet) long, with Italian media saying it could have been a tiger or a bull shark.

Matteo said: “I no longer have a leg, but I’m alive.”


To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Joseph GolderSub-EditorJoseph Golder, Agency: Central European News

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